The Yellow Book
An Illustrated Quarterly
Volume IV January 1895
I. Home . . . . By Richard Le
Gallienne Page 11
II. The Bohemian Girl . Henry Harland . . 12
III. Vespertilia . . . Graham R. Tomson . . 49
IV. The House of Shame . H. B. Marriott Watson . 53
V. Rondeaux d’Amour . Dolf Wyllarde . . . 87
VI. Wladislaw’s Advent . Ménie Muriel Dowie . 90
VII. The Waking of Spring . Olive Custance . . 116
VIII. Mr. Stevenson’s Fore-runner James Ashcroft Noble . 121
IX. Red Rose . . . Leila Macdonald . . 143
X. Margaret . . . C. S. . . . . 147
XI. Of One in Russia . . Richard Garnett, LL.D. . 155
XII. Theodora, a Fragment . Victoria Cross . . . 156
XIII. Two Songs . . . Charles Sydney . . 189
XIV. A Falling Out . . Kenneth Grahame . . 195
XV. Hor. Car. I. 5 . . Charles Newton-Robinson 202
XVI. Henri Beyle . . . Norman Hapgood . . 207
XVII. Day and Night . . E. Nesbit . . . 234
XVIII. A Thief in the Night . Marion Hepworth Dixon . 239
XIX. An Autumn Elegy . . C. W. Dalmon . . 247
XX. The End of an Episode . Evelyn Sharp . . . 255
XXI. 1880 . . . . Max Beerbohm . . 275
XXII. Proem to “The Won-derful Mission of Earl Lavender” John Davidson . . 284
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV.—January, 1895
I. Study of a Head . . By H. J.
Draper . . Page 7
II. A Sussex Landscape . William Hyde . . 45
III. Hotel Royal, Dieppe Walter Sickert . . 80
IV. Bodley Heads. No. I : Mr. Richard Le Gallienne
V. Portrait of Mr. George Moore
VI. Rustem Firing the First Shot Patten Wilson . . 118
VII. A Westmorland Village . W. W. Russell . . 144
VIII. The Knock-out . . A. S. Hartrick . . 152
IX. Design for a Fan . . Charles Conder . . 191
X. Bodley Heads. No. 2 : Mr. John Davidson Will Rothenstein 203
XI. Plein Air . . . Miss Sumner 235
XII. A Lady in Grey . P. Wilson Steer 249
XIII. Portrait of Emil Sauer
XIV. The Mysterious Rose Garden Aubrey Beardsley . . 273
XV. The Repentance of Mrs. ****
XVI. Portrait of Miss Wini-fred Emery
XVII. Double-page Supple-ment : Frontispiece for Juvenal
Home . . .
” WE’RE going home ! ” I heard two lovers say,
They kissed their friends and bade them bright
I hid the deadly hunger in my eyes,
And, lest I might have killed them, turned away.
Ah, love, we too once gambolled home as they,
Home from the town with such fair merchandise,—
Wine and great grapes—the happy lover buys :
A little cosy feast to crown the day.
Yes ! we had once a heaven we called a home,
Its empty rooms still haunt me like thine eyes
When the last sunset softly faded there ;
Each day I tread each empty haunted room,
And now and then a little baby cries,
Or laughs a lovely laughter worse to bear.
“Tell me not Now”
By William Watson
TELL me not now, if love for love
Thou canst return,
Now while around us and above
Day’s flambeaux burn.
Not in clear noon, with speech as clear,
Thy heart avow,
For every gossip wind to hear ;
Tell me not now !
Tell me not now the tidings sweet,
The news divine ;
A little longer at thy feet
Leave me to pine.
I would not have the gadding bird
Hear from his bough ;
Nay, though I famish for a word,
Tell me not now !
The Yellow Book—Vol. III. B
But when deep trances of delight
All Nature seal ;
When round the world the arms of Night
Caressing steal ;
When rose to dreaming rose says, “Dear,
Dearest ;” and when
Heaven sighs her secret in Earth’s ear,
Ah, tell me then !
The Bohemian Girl
I WOKE up very gradually this morning, and it took me a little
while to bethink myself where I had slept—that it had not
been in my own room in the Cromwell Road. I lay a-bed, with
eyes half-closed, drowsily looking forward to the usual procession
of sober-hued London hours, and, for the moment, quite forgot
the journey of yesterday, and how it had left me in Paris, a guest
in the smart new house of my old friend, Nina Childe. Indeed,
it was not until somebody tapped on my door, and I roused
myself to call out, ” Come in,” that I noticed the strangeness of
the wall-paper, and then, after an instant of perplexity, suddenly
remembered. Oh, with a wonderful lightening of the spirit, I can
A white-capped, brisk young woman, with a fresh-coloured,
wholesome peasant face, came in, bearing a tray—Jeanne, Nina’s
” Bonjour, monsieur,” she cried cheerily. ” I bring monsieur
his coffee.” And her announcement was followed by a fragrance
—the softly-sung response of the coffee-sprite. Her tray, with its
pretty freight of silver and linen, primrose butter, and gently-
browned pain-de-gruau, she set down on the table at my elbow ;
then she crossed the room and drew back the window-curtains,
making the rings tinkle crisply on the metal rods, and letting in a
gush of dazzling sunshine. From where I lay I could see the
house-fronts opposite glow pearly-grey in shadow, and the crest of
the slate roofs sharply print itself on the sky, like a black line on
a sheet of scintillant blue velvet. Yet, a few minutes ago, I had
been fancying myself in the Cromwell Road.
Jeanne, gathering up my scattered garments, to take them off
and brush them, inquired, by the way, if monsieur had passed a
” As the chambermaid makes your bed, so must you lie in it,”
I answered. ” And you know whether my bed was smoothly made.”
Jeanne smiled indulgently. But her next remark—did it imply
that she found me rusty ? ” Here’s a long time that you haven’t
been in Paris.”
” Yes,” I admitted ; ” not since May, and now we’re in
” We have changed things a little, have we not? ” she de-
manded, with a gesture that left the room, and included the house,
the street, the quarter.
” In effect,” assented I.
” Monsieur desires his hot water? ” she asked, abruptly irre-
But I could be, or at least seem, abruptly irrelevant too.
” Mademoiselle—is she up ? ”
” Ah, yes, monsieur. Mademoiselle has been up since eight.
She awaits you in the salon. La voilà qui joue,” she added, point-
ing to the floor.
Nina had begun to play scales in the room below.
” Then you may bring me my hot water,” I said.
The scales continued while I was dressing, and many desultory
reminiscences of the player, and vague reflections upon the unlike-
lihood of her adventures, went flitting through my mind to their
rhythm. Here she was, scarcely turned thirty, beautiful, brilliant,
rich in her own right, as free in all respects to follow her own will
as any man could be, with Camille happily at her side, a well-
grown, rosy, merry miss of twelve,—here was Nina, thus, to-day ;
and yet, a mere little ten years ago, I remembered her …. ah,
in a very different plight indeed. True, she has got no more than
her deserts ; she has paid for her success, every pennyweight of it,
in hard work and self-denial. But one is so expectant, here below,
to see Fortune capricious, that, when for once in a way she
bestows her favours where they are merited, one can’t help feeling
rather dazed. One is so inured to seeing honest Effort turn
empty-handed from her door.
Ten little years ago—but no. I must begin further back. I
must tell you something about Nina’s father.
He was an Englishman who lived for the greater part of his life
in Paris. I would say he was a painter, if he had not been equally
a sculptor, a musician, an architect, a writer of verse, and a
university coach. A doer of so many things is inevitably suspect ;
you will imagine that he must have bungled them all. On the
contrary, whatever he did, he did with a considerable degree of
accomplishment. The landscapes he painted were very fresh and
pleasing, delicately coloured, with lots of air in them, and a
dreamy, suggestive sentiment. His brother sculptors declared
that his statuettes were modelled with exceeding dash and direct-
ness ; they were certainly fanciful and amusing. I remember one
that I used to like immensely—Titania driving to a tryst with
Bottom, her chariot a lily, daisies for wheels, and for steeds a pair
of mettlesome field-mice. I doubt if he ever got a commission
for a complete house ; but the staircases he designed, the fire-
places, and other bits of buildings, everybody thought original and
graceful. The tunes he wrote were lively and catching, the words
never stupid, sometimes even strikingly happy, epigrammatic ; and
he sang them delightfully, in a robust, hearty baritone. He
coached the youth of France, for their examinations, in Latin and
Greek, in history, mathematics, general literature—in goodness
knows what not ; and his pupils failed so rarely that, when one
did, the circumstance became a nine days’ wonder. The world
beyond the Students’ Quarter had never heard of him, but there
he was a celebrity and a favourite ; and, strangely enough for a
man with so many strings to his bow, he contrived to pick up a
He was a splendid creature to look at, tall, stalwart, full-
blooded, with a ruddy open-air complexion ; a fine bold brow and
nose ; brown eyes, humorous, intelligent, kindly, that always
brightened flatteringly when they met you ; and a vast quantity
of bluish-grey hair and beard. In his dress he affected (very
wisely, for they became him excellently) velvet jackets, flannel
shirts, loosely-knotted ties, and wide-brimmed soft felt hats.
Marching down the Boulevard St. Michel, his broad shoulders
well thrown back, his head erect, chin high in air, his whole
person radiating health, power, contentment, and the pride of
them : he was a sight worth seeing, spirited, picturesque, pre-
possessing. You could not have passed him without noticing
him—without wondering who he was, confident he was somebody
—without admiring him, and feeling that there went a man it
would be interesting to know.
He was, indeed, charming to know ; he was the hero, the idol,
of a little sect of worshippers, young fellows who loved nothing
better than to sit at his feet. On the Rive Gauche, to be sure,
we are, for the most part, birds of passage ; a student arrives,
tarries a little, then departs. So, with the exits and entrances of
seniors and nouveaux, the personnel of old Childe’s following varied
from season to season ; but numerically it remained pretty much
the same. He had a studio, with a few living-rooms attached,
somewhere up in the fastnesses of Montparnasse, though it was
seldom thither that one went to seek him. He received at his café,
the Café Bleu—the Café Bleu which has since blown into the
monster café of the Quarter, the noisiest, the rowdiest, the most
flamboyant. But I am writing (alas) of twelve, thirteen, fifteen
years ago ; in those days the Café Bleu consisted of a single
oblong room—with a sanded floor, a dozen tables, and two
waiters, Eugène and Hippolyte—where Madame Chanve, the
patronne, in lofty insulation behind her counter, reigned, if you
please, but where Childe, her principal client, governed. The
bottom of the shop, at any rate, was reserved exclusively to his
use. There he dined, wrote his letters, dispensed his hospitalities;
he had his own piano there, if you can believe me, his foils and
boxing-gloves ; from the absinthe hour till bed-time there was
his habitat, his den. And woe to the passing stranger who, mis-
taking the Café Bleu for an ordinary house of call, ventured,
during that consecrated period, to drop in. Nothing would be
said, nothing done ; we would not even trouble to stare at the
intruder. Yet he would seldom stop to finish his consommation,
or he would bolt it. He would feel something in the air ; he
would know he was out of place. He would fidget a little, frown
a little, and get up meekly, and slink into the street. Human
magnetism is such a subtle force. And Madame Chanve didn’t
mind in the least ; she preferred a bird in the hand to a brace in
the bush. From half a dozen to a score of us dined at her long
table every evening ; as many more drank her appetisers in the
afternoon, and came again at night for grog or coffee. You see,
it was a sort of club, a club of which Childe was at once the
chairman and the object. If we had had a written constitution,
it must have begun : ” The purpose of this association is the
enjoyment of the society of Alfred Childe.”
Ah, those afternoons, those dinners, those ambrosial nights !
If the weather was kind, of course, we would begin our session on
the terrasse, sipping our vermouth, puffing our cigarettes, laugh-
ing our laughs, tossing hither and thither our light ball of gossip,
vaguely conscious of the perpetual ebb and flow and murmur of
people in the Boulevard, while the setting sun turned Paris to a
marvellous water-colour, all pale lucent tints, amber and alabaster
and mother-of-pearl, with amethystine shadows. Then, one by
one, those of us who were dining elsewhere would slip away ;
and at a sign from Hippolyte the others would move indoors,
and take their places down either side of the long narrow table,
Childe at the head, his daughter Nina next him. And presently
with what a clatter of knives and forks, clinking of glasses, and
babble of human voices, the Café Bleu would echo. Madame
Chanve’s kitchen was not a thing to boast of, and her price, for
the Latin Quarter, was rather high—I think we paid three francs,
wine included, which would be for most of us distinctly a prix–
de-luxe. But oh, it was such fun ; we were so young ;
was so delightful. The fun was best, of course, when we were
few, and could all sit up near to him, and none need lose a word.
When we were many there would be something like a scramble
for good seats.
I ask myself whether, if I could hear him again to-day, I
should think his talk as wondrous as I thought it then. Then I
could thrill at the verse of Musset, and linger lovingly over the
prose of Théophile, I could laugh at the wit of Gustave Droz,
and weep at the pathos …. it costs me a pang to own it, but
yes, I m afraid …. I could weep at the pathos of Henry
Mürger ; and these have all suffered such a sad sea-change since.
So I could sit, hour after hour, in a sort of ecstasy, listening to
the talk of Nina’s father. It flowed from him like wine from a
full measure, easily, smoothly, abundantly. He had a ripe,
genial voice, and an enunciation that made crystals of his words ;
whilst his range of subjects was as wide as the earth and the sky.
He would talk to you of God and man, of metaphysics, ethics, the
last new play, murder, or change of ministry ; of books, of
pictures, specifically, or of the general principles of literature and
painting ; of people, of sunsets, of Italy, of the high seas, of the
Paris streets—of what, in fine, you pleased. Or he would spin
you yarns, sober, farcical, veridical, or invented. And, with
transitions infinitely rapid, he would be serious, jocose—solemn,
ribald—earnest, flippant—logical, whimsical, turn and turn about.
And in every sentence, in its form or in its substance, he would
wrap a surprise for you—it was the unexpected word, the un-
expected assertion, sentiment, conclusion, that constantly arrived.
Meanwhile it would enhance your enjoyment mightily to watch
his physiognomy, the movements of his great, grey, shaggy head,
the lightening and darkening of his eyes, his smile, his frown,
his occasional slight shrug or gesture. But the oddest thing was
this, that he could take as well as give ; he could listen—surely a
rare talent in a monologist. Indeed, I have never known a man
who could make you feel so interesting.
After dinner he would light an immense brown meerschaum
pipe, and smoke for a quarter-hour or so in silence ; then he
would play a game or two of chess with some one ; and by and by
he would open his piano, and sing to us till midnight.
I speak of him as old, and indeed we always called him Old
Childe among ourselves ; yet he was barely fifty. Nina, when I
first made their acquaintance, must have been a girl of sixteen or
seventeen ; though—tall, with an amply rounded, mature-seeming
figure—if one had judged from her appearance, one would have
fancied her three or four years older. For that matter, she looked
then very much as she looks now ; I can perceive scarcely any
alteration. She had the same dark hair, gathered up in a big
smooth knot behind, and breaking into a tumult of little ringlets
over her forehead ; the same clear, sensitive complexion ; the
same rather large, full-lipped mouth, tip-tilted nose, soft chin, and
merry, mischievous eyes. She moved in the same way, with the
same leisurely, almost lazy grace, that could, however, on
occasions, quicken to an alert, elastic vivacity ; she had the same
voice, a trifle deeper than most women’s, and of a quality never so
delicately nasal, which made it racy and characteristic ; the same
fresh, ready laughter. There was something arch, something a
little sceptical, a little quizzical, in her expression, as if, perhaps,
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. B
she were disposed to take the world, more or less, with a grain of
salt ; at the same time there was something rich, warm-blooded,
luxurious, suggesting that she would know how to savour its
pleasantnesses with complete enjoyment. But if you felt that she
was by way of being the least bit satirical in her view of things,
you felt too that she was altogether good-natured, and even that,
at need, she could show herself spontaneously kind, generous,
devoted. And if you inferred that her temperament inclined
rather towards the sensuous than the ascetic, believe me, it did not
lessen her attractiveness.
At the time of which I am writing now, the sentiment that
reigned between Nina and Old Childe’s retinue of young men
was chiefly an esprit-de-corps. Later on we all fell in love with
her ; but for the present we were simply amiably fraternal. We
were united to her by a common enthusiasm ; we were fellow-
celebrants at her ancestral altar—or, rather, she was the high
priestess there, we were her acolytes. For, with her, filial piety
did in very truth partake of the nature of religion ; she really,
literally, idolised her father. One only needed to watch her for
three minutes, as she sat beside him, to understand the depth and
ardour of her emotion : how she adored him, how she admired
him and believed in him, how proud of him she was, how she
rejoiced in him. ” Oh, you think you know my father,” I
remember her saying to us once. ” Nobody knows him. No-
body is great enough to know him. If people knew him they
would fall down and kiss the ground he walks on.” It is certain
she deemed him the wisest, the noblest, the handsomest, the most
gifted, of human kind. That little gleam of mockery in her eye
died out instantly when she looked at him, when she spoke of him
or listened to him ; instead, there came a tender light of love and
her face grew pale with the fervour of her affection. Yet, when
he jested, no one laughed more promptly or more heartily than
she. In those days I was perpetually trying to write fiction ; and
Old Childe was my inveterate hero. I forget in how many
ineffectual manuscripts, under what various dread disguises, he
was afterwards reduced to ashes ; I am afraid, in one case, a
scandalous distortion of him got abroad in print. Publishers are
sometimes ill-advised ; and thus the indiscretions of our youth may
become the confusions of our age. The thing was in three
volumes, and called itself a novel ; and of course the fatuous
author had to make a bad business worse by presenting a copy to
his victim. I shall never forget the look Nina gave me when I
asked her if she had read it ; I grow hot even now as I recall it.
I had waited and waited, expecting her compliments ; and at last
I could wait no longer, and so asked her ; and she answered me
with a look ! It was weeks, I am not sure it wasn’t months,
before she took me back to her good graces. But Old Childe
was magnanimous ; he sent me a little pencil-drawing of his
head, inscribed in the corner, ” To Frankenstein from his
It was a queer life for a girl to live, that happy-go-lucky life of
the Latin Quarter, lawless and unpremeditated, with a café for her
school-room, and none but men for comrades ; but Nina liked it ;
and her father had a theory in his madness. He was a Bohemian,
not in practice only, but in principle ; he preached Bohemianism
as the most rational manner of existence, maintaining that it
developed what was intrinsic and authentic in one’s character,
saved one from the artificial, and brought one into immediate
contact with the realities of the world ; and he protested he could
see no reason why a human being should be ” cloistered and
contracted ” because of her sex. ” What would not hurt my son,
if I had one, will not hurt my daughter. It will make a man of
her—without making her the less a woman.” So he took her
with him to the Café Bleu, and talked in her presence quite as
freely as he might have talked had she been absent. As, in the
greater number of his theological, political, and social convictions,
he was exceedingly unorthodox, she heard a good deal, no doubt,
that most of us would scarcely consider edifying for our daughters’
ears ; but he had his system, he knew what he was about. ” The
question whether you can touch pitch and remain undefiled,” he
said, ” depends altogether upon the spirit in which you approach
it. The realities of the world, the realities of life, the real things
of God’s universe—what have we eyes for, if not to envisage
them ? Do so fearlessly, honestly, with a clean heart, and, man
or woman, you can only be the better for it.” Perhaps his
system was a shade too simple, a shade too obvious, for this
complicated planet ; but he held to it in all sincerity. It was in
pursuance of the same system, I daresay, that he taught Nina to
fence, and to read Latin and Greek, as well as to play the piano,
and turn an omelette. She could ply a foil against the best
And then, quite suddenly, he died.
I think it was in March, or April ; anyhow, it was a premature
spring-like day, and he had left off his overcoat. That evening
he went to the Odéon, and when, after the play, he joined us for
supper at the Bleu, he said he thought he had caught a cold, and
ordered hot grog. The next day he did not turn up at all ; so
several of us, after dinner, presented ourselves at his lodgings in
Montparnasse. We found him in bed, with Nina reading to him.
He was feverish, and Nina had insisted that he should stop at
home. He would be all right to-morrow. He scoffed at our
suggestion that he should see a doctor ; he was one of those men
who affect to despise the medical profession. But early on the
following morning a commissionnaire brought me a note from
Nina. ” My father is very much worse. Can you come at
once ? ” He was delirious. Poor Nina, white, with frightened
eyes, moved about like one distracted. We sent off for Dr.
Rénoult, we had in a Sister of Charity. Everything that could
be done was done. Till the very end, none of us for a moment
doubted he would recover. It was impossible to conceive that
that strong, affirmative life could be extinguished. And even
after the end had come, the end with its ugly suite of material
circumstances, I don’t think any of us realised what it meant. It
was as if we had been told that one of the forces of Nature had
become inoperative. And Nina, through it all, was like some
pale thing in marble, that breathed and moved : white, dazed,
helpless, with aching, incredulous eyes, suffering everything,
When it came to the worst of the dreadful necessary businesses
that followed, some of us, somehow, managed to draw her from
the death-chamber into another room, and to keep her there,
while others of us got it over. It was snowing that afternoon, I
remember, a melancholy, hesitating snowstorm, with large moist
flakes, that fluttered down irresolutely, and presently disintegrated
into rain ; but we had not far to go. Then we returned to Nina,
and for many days and nights we never dared to leave her. You
will guess whether the question of her future, especially of her
immediate future, weighed heavily upon our minds. In the end,
however, it appeared to have solved itself—though I can’t pretend
that the solution was exactly all we could have wished.
Her father had a half-brother (we learned this from his papers),
incumbent of rather an important living in the north of England.
We also learned that the brothers had scarcely seen each other
twice in a score of years, and had kept up only the most fitful
correspondence. Nevertheless, we wrote to the clergyman, de-
scribing the sad case of his niece ; and in reply we got a letter,
addressed to Nina herself, saying that of course she must come at
once to Yorkshire, and consider the rectory her home. I don’t
need to recount the difficulties we had in explaining to her, in
persuading her. I have known few more painful moments than
that when, at the Gare du Nord, half a dozen of us established
the poor, benumbed, bewildered child in her compartment, and
sent her, with our godspeed, alone upon her long journey— to her
strange kindred, and the strange conditions of life she would have
to encounter among them. From the Café Bleu to a Yorkshire
parsonage ! And Nina’s was not by any means a neutral
personality, nor her mind a blank sheet of paper. She had a will
of her own ; she had convictions, aspirations, traditions, prejudices,
which she would hold to with enthusiasm because they had been
her father’s, because her father had taught them to her ; and she
had manners, habits, tastes. She would be sure to horrify the
people she was going to ; she would be sure to resent their criti-
cism, their slightest attempt at interference. Oh, my heart was
full of misgivings ; yet—she had no money, she was eighteen
years old—what else could we advise her to do ? All the same,
her face, as it looked down upon us from the window of her rail-
way carriage, white, with big terrified eyes fixed in a gaze of
blank uncomprehending anguish, kept rising up to reproach me
for weeks afterwards. I had her on my conscience as if I had
personally wronged her.
It was characteristic of her that, during her absence, she hardly
wrote to us. She is of far too hasty and impetuous a nature to
take kindly to the task of letter-writing ; her moods are too incon-
stant ; her thoughts, her fancies, supersede one another too
rapidly. Anyhow, beyond the telegram we had made her promise
to send, announcing her safe arrival, the most favoured of us got
nothing more than an occasional scrappy note, if he got so much ;
while the greater number of the long epistles some of us felt in
duty bound to address to her, elicited not even the semblance of an
acknowledgment. Hence, about the particulars of her experience
we were quite in the dark, though of its general features we were
informed, succinctly, in a big, dashing, uncompromising hand,
that she ” hated ” them.
I am not sure whether it was late in April or early in May that
Nina left us. But one day towards the middle of October, coming
home from the restaurant where I had lunched, I found in my
letter-box in the concierge’s room two half-sheets of paper, folded,
with the corners turned down, and my name superscribed in pencil.
The handwriting startled me a little—and yet, no, it was im-
possible. Then I hastened to unfold and read, and of course it
was the impossible which had happened.
” Mon cher, I am sorry not to find you at home, but I’ll wait at
the café at the corner till half-past twelve. It is now midi juste.”
That was the first. The second ran : ” I have waited till a
quarter to one. Now I am going to the Bleu for luncheon. I
shall be there till three.” And each was signed with the initials,
It was not yet two, so I had plenty of time. But you will
believe that I didn’t loiter on that account. I dashed out of the
loge—into the street—down the Boulevard St. Michel—into the
Bleu, breathlessly. At the far end Nina was seated before a marble
table, with Madame Chanve in smiles and tears beside her. I heard a
little cry ; I felt myself seized and enveloped for a moment by some-
thing like a whirlwind—oh, but a very pleasant whirlwind, warm and
fresh, and fragrant of violets ; I received two vigorous kisses, one on
either cheek ; and then I was held off at arm’s length, and examined
by a pair of laughing eyes.
And at last a voice—rather a deep voice for a woman’s, with just
a crisp edge to it, that might have been called slightly nasal, but
was agreeable and individual—a voice said : ” En voilà assez.
Come and sit down.”
She had finished her luncheon, and was taking coffee ; and if
the whole truth must be told, I’m afraid she was taking it with a
petit-verre and a cigarette. She wore an exceedingly simple black
frock, with a bunch of violets in her breast, and a hat with a
sweeping black feather and a daring brim. Her dark luxurious
hair broke into a riot of fluffy little curls about her forehead, and
thence waved richly away to where it was massed behind ; her
cheeks glowed with a lovely colour (thanks, doubtless, to Yorkshire
breezes ; sweet are the uses of adversity) ; her eyes sparkled ; her
lips curved in a perpetual play of smiles, letting her delicate little
teeth show themselves furtively ; and suddenly I realised that this
girl, whom I had never thought of save as one might think of
one’s younger sister, suddenly I realised that she was a woman,
and a radiantly, perhaps even a dangerously handsome woman. I
saw suddenly that she was not merely an attribute, an aspect of
another, not merely Alfred Childe’s daughter ; she was a person-
age in herself, a personage to be reckoned with.
This sufficiently obvious perception came upon me with such
force, and brought me such emotion, that I dare say for a little
while I sat vacantly staring at her, with an air of preoccupation.
Anyhow, all at once she laughed, and cried out, ” Well, when you
get back . . . ? ” and, ” Perhaps,” she questioned, ” perhaps you
think it polite to go off wool-gathering like that ? ” Whereupon
I recovered myself with a start, and laughed too.
” But say that you are surprised, say that you are glad, at least,”
she went on.
Surprised! glad! But what did it mean? What was it all
” I couldn’t stand it any longer, that’s all. I have come home.
Oh, que c’est bon, que c’est bon, que c’est bon ! ”
” And—England ?—Yorkshire ?—your people ? “
” Don’t speak of it. It was a bad dream. It is over. It
brings bad luck to speak of bad dreams. I have forgotten it. I am
here—in Paris—at home. Oh, que c’est bon ! ” And she smiled
blissfully through eyes filled with tears.
Don’t tell me that happiness is an illusion. It is her habit, if
you will, to flee before us and elude us ; but sometimes, sometimes
we catch up with her, and can hold her for long moments warm
against our hearts.
” Oh, mon père ! It is enough—to be here, where he lived,
where he worked, where he was happy,” Nina murmured afterwards.
She had arrived the night before ; she had taken a room in the
Hôtel d’Espagne, in the Rue de Médicis, opposite the Luxem-
bourg Garden. I was as yet the only member of the old set she
had looked up. Of course I knew where she had gone first
—but not to cry—to kiss it—to place flowers on it. She
could not cry—not now. She was too happy, happy, happy.
Oh, to be back in Paris, her home, where she had lived with
him, where every stick and stone was dear to her because of
Then, glancing up at the clock, with an abrupt change of key,
” Mais allons donc, paresseux !—You must take me to see the
camarades. You must take me to see Chalks.”
And in the street she put her arm through mine, laughing and
saying, ” On nous croira fiancés.” She did not walk, she tripped,
she all but danced beside me, chattering joyously in alternate
French and English. ” I could stop and kiss them all—the men,
the women, the very pavement. Oh, Paris ! Oh, these good,
gay, kind Parisians ! Look at the sky ! look at the view—down
that impasse—the sunlight and shadows on the houses, the door-
ways, the people. Oh, the air! Oh, the smells! Oue c’est bon
—que je suis contente ! Et dire que j’ai passé cinq mois, mais
cinq grands mois, en Angleterre. Ah, veinard, you—you don’t
know how you’re blessed.” Presently we found ourselves labour-
ing knee-deep in a wave of black pinafores, and Nina had plucked
her bunch of violets from her breast, and was dropping them
amongst eager fingers and rosy cherubic smiles. And it was con-
stantly, ” Tiens, there’s Madame Chose in her kiosque. Bonjour,
madame. Vous allez toujours bien ? ” and ” Oh, look ! old
Perronet standing before his shop in his shirt-sleeves, exactly as he
has stood at this hour every day, winter or summer, these ten
years. Bonjour, M’sieu Perronet.” And you may be sure that
the kindly French Choses and Perronets returned her greetings
with beaming faces. ” Ah, mademoiselle, que c’est bon de vous
revoir ainsi. Que vous avez bonne mine!” ” It is so strange,”
she said, ” to find nothing changed. To think that everything
has gone on quietly in the usual way. As if I hadn’t spent an
eternity in exile ! ” And at the corner of one street, before a vast
flaunting ” bazaar,” with a prodigality of tawdry Oriental wares
exhibited on the pavement, and little black shopmen trailing like
beetles in and out amongst them, ” Oh,” she cried, ” the ‘ Mecque
du Quartier ‘ ! To think that I could weep for joy at seeing the
‘ Mecque du Quartier ‘ ! ”
By and by we plunged into a dark hallway, climbed a long,
unsavoury corkscrew staircase, and knocked at a door. A gruff
voice having answered, ” ‘Trez!” we entered Chalks’s bare,
bleak, paint-smelling studio. He was working (from a lay-figure)
with his back towards us ; and he went on working for a minute
or two after our arrival, without speaking. Then he demanded,
in a sort of grunt, ” Eh bien, qu’est ce que c’est ? ” always with-
out pausing in his work or looking round. Nina gave two little
ahems, tense with suppressed mirth ; and slowly, indifferently,
Chalks turned an absent-minded face in our direction. But, next
instant, there was a shout—a rush—a confusion of forms in the
middle of the floor—and I realised that I was not the only one to
be honoured by a kiss and an embrace. ” Oh, you’re covering
me with paint,” Nina protested suddenly ; and indeed he had
forgotten to drop his brush and palette, and great dabs of colour
were clinging to her cloak. While he was doing penance,
scrubbing the garment with rags soaked in turpentine, he kept
shaking his head, and murmuring, from time to time, as he
glanced up at her, ” Well, I ll be dumned.”
” It’s very nice and polite of you, Chalks,” she said, by and by,
” a very graceful concession to my sex. But, if you think it
would relieve you once for all, you have my full permission to
pronounce it —amned.”
Chalks did no more work that afternoon ; and that evening
quite twenty of us dined at Madame Chanve’s ; and it was almost
like old times.
” Oh, yes,” she explained to me afterwards, ” my uncle is a good
man. My aunt and cousins are very good women. But for me,
to live with them—pas possible, mon cher. Their thoughts were
not my thoughts, we could not speak the same language. They
disapproved of me unutterably. They suffered agonies, poor
things. Oh, they were very kind, very patient. But—! My
gods were their devils. My father—my great, grand, splendid
father— was ‘ poor Alfred,’ ‘ poor uncle Alfred.’ Que voulez-
vous ? And then—the life, the society ! The parishioners—the
people who came to tea—the houses where we sometimes dined !
Are you interested in crops ? In the preservation of game ? In
the diseases of cattle ? Olàlà ! (C’est bien le cas de s’en servir,
de cette expression-là.) Olàlà, làlà ! And then—have you ever
been homesick ? Oh, I longed, I pined, for Paris, as one
suffocating would long, would die, for air. Enfin, I could not
stand it any longer. They thought it wicked to smoke cigarettes.
My poor aunt—when she smelt cigarette-smoke in my bed-room !
Oh, her face ! I had to sneak away, behind the shrubbery at the
end of the garden, for stealthy whiffs. And it was impossible to
get French tobacco. At last I took the bull by the horns, and
fled. It will have been a terrible shock for them. But better
one good blow than endless little ones ; better a lump-sum, than
instalments with interest.”
But what was she going to do ? How was she going to live ?
For, after all, much as she loved Paris, she couldn’t subsist on its
air and sunshine.
” Oh, never fear! I’ll manage somehow. I’ll not die of
hunger,” she said confidently.
And, sure enough, she managed very well. She gave music
lessons to the children of the Quarter, and English lessons to
clerks and shop-girls ; she did a little translating ; she would pose
now and then for a painter friend—she was the original, for
instance, of Norton’s ” Woman Dancing,” which you know.
She even—thanks to the employment by Chalks of what he called
his ” inflooence “—she even contributed a weekly column of Paris
gossip to the Palladium, a newspaper published at Battle Creek,
Michigan, U.S.A., Chalks’s native town. ” Put in lots about
me, and talk as if there were only two important centres of
civilisation on earth, Battle Crick and Parus, and it’ll be a boom,”
Chalks said. We used to have great fun, concocting those
columns of Paris gossip. Nina, indeed, held the pen and cast a
deciding vote ; but we all collaborated. And we put in lots about
Chalks—perhaps rather more than he had bargained for. With
an irony (we trusted) too subtle to be suspected by the good
people of Battle Creek, we would introduce their illustrious fellow-
citizen, casually, between the Pope and the President of the
Republic ; we would sketch him as he strolled in the Boulevard
arm-in-arm with Monsieur Meissonier, as he dined with the Per-
petual Secretary of the French Academy, or drank his bock in the
afternoon with the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour ;
we would compose solemn descriptive criticisms of his works,
which almost made us die of laughing ; we would interview him
—at length—about any subject ; we would give elaborate bulletins
of his health, and brilliant pen-pictures of his toilets. Sometimes
we would betroth him, marry him, divorce him ; sometimes,
when our muse impelled us to a particularly daring flight, we
would insinuate, darkly, sorrowfully, that perhaps the great man’s
morals—— But no ! We were persuaded that rumour accused him
falsely. The story that he had been seen dancing at Bullier’s
with the notorious Duchesse de Z—— was a baseless fabrication.
Unprincipled ? Oh, we were nothing if not unprincipled. And
our pleasure was so exquisite, and it worried our victim so. ” I
suppose you think it’s funny, don’t you ? ” he used to ask, with a
feint of superior scorn which put its fine flower to our hilarity.
” Look out, or you’ll bust,” he would warn us, the only uncon-
vulsed member present. ” By gum, you’re easily amused.” We
always wrote of him respectfully as Mr. Charles K. Smith ; we
never faintly hinted at his sobriquet. We would have rewarded
liberally, at that time, any one who could have told us what the K
stood for. We yearned to unite the cryptic word to his surname
by a hyphen ; the mere abstract notion of doing so filled us with
fearful joy. Chalks was right, I dare say ; we were easily amused.
And Nina, at these moments of literary frenzy—I can see her
now : her head bent over the manuscript, her hair in some dis-
array, a spiral of cigarette-smoke winding ceilingward from
between the fingers of her idle hand, her lips parted, her eyes
gleaming with mischievous inspirations, her face pale with the
intensity of her glee. I can see her as she would look up, eagerly,
to listen to somebody’s suggestion, or as she would motion to us
to be silent, crying, ” Attendez—I’ve got an idea.” Then her
pen would dash swiftly, noisily, over her paper for a little, whilst
we all waited expectantly ; and at last she would lean back,
drawing a long breath, and tossing the pen aside, to read her
paragraph out to us.
In a word, she managed very well, and by no means died of
hunger. She could scarcely afford Madame Chanve’s three-franc
table d’hôte, it is true ; but we could dine modestly at Leon’s,
over the way, and return the Bleu for coffee,—though, it must
be added, that establishment no longer enjoyed a monopoly of
our custom. We patronised it and the Vachette, the Source, the
Ecoles, the Souris, indifferently. Or we would sometimes spend
our evenings in Nina’s rooms. She lived in a tremendously
swagger house in the Avenue de l’Observatoire—on the sixth
floor, to be sure, but ” there was a carpet all the way up.” She
had a charming little salon, with her own furniture and piano
(the same that had formerly embellished our café), and no end
of books, pictures, draperies, and pretty things, inherited from
her father or presented by her friends.
By this time the inevitable had happened, and we were all in
love with her—hopelessly, resignedly so, and without internecine
rancour, for she treated us, indiscriminately, with a serene, im-
partial, tolerant derision ; but we were savagely, luridly, jealous
and suspicious of all new-comers and of all outsiders. If we could
not win her, no one else should ; and we formed ourselves round
her in a ring of fire. Oh, the maddening mock-sentimental,
mock-sympathetic face she would pull, when one of us ventured
to sigh to her of his passion ! The way she would lift her eye-
brows, and gaze at you with a travesty of pity, shaking her head
pensively, and murmuring, ” Mon pauvre ami ! Only fancy ! “
And then how the imp, lurking in the corners of her eyes, with
only the barest pretence of trying to conceal himself, would
suddenly leap forth in a peal of laughter ! She had lately read
Mr. Howells’s ” Undiscovered Country,” and had adopted the
Shakers’ paraphrase for love : ” Feeling foolish.”—” Feeling pretty
foolish to-day, air ye, gentlemen ? ” she inquired, mimicking the
dialect of Chalks. ” Well, I guess you just ain’t feeling any
more foolish than you look ! “—If she would but have taken us
seriously ! And the worst of it was that we knew she was
anything but temperamentally cold. Chalks formulated the
potentialities we divined in her, when he remarked, regretfully,
wistfully, as he often did, ” She could love like Hell.” Once,
in a reckless moment, he even went so far as to tell her this point-
blank. ” Oh, naughty Chalks ! ” she remonstrated, shaking her
ringer at him. ” Do you think that’s a pretty word ? But—I
dare say I could.”
” All the same, Lord help the man you marry,” Chalks con-
” Oh, I shall never marry,” Nina cried. ” Because, first, I
don’t approve of matrimony as an institution. And then—as you
say—Lord help my husband. I should be such an uncomfortable
wife. So capricious, and flighty, and tantalising, and unsettling,
and disobedient, and exacting, and everything. Oh, but a horrid
wife ! No, I shall never marry. Marriage is quite too out-of-date.
I shan’t marry ; but, if I ever meet a man and love him—ah ! “
She placed two fingers upon her lips, and kissed them, and waved
the kiss to the skies.
This fragment of conversation passed in the Luxembourg
Garden ; and the three or four of us by whom she was accom-
panied glared threateningly at our mental image of that not-
impossible upstart whom she might some day meet and love.
We were sure, of course, that he would be a beast ; we hated him
not merely because he would have cut us out with her, but
because he would be so distinctly our inferior, so hopelessly
unworthy of her, so helplessly incapable of appreciating her. I
think we conceived of him as tall, with drooping fair moustaches,
and contemptibly meticulous in his dress. He would probably
not be of the Quarter ; he would sneer at us.
” He’ll not understand her, he’ll not respect her. Take her
peculiar views. We know where she gets them. But he—he’ll
despise her for them, at the very time he’s profiting by ’em,”
some one said.
Her peculiar views of the institution of matrimony, the speaker
meant. She had got them from her father. ” The relations of
the sexes should be as free as friendship,” he had taught. ” If
a man and a woman love each other, it is nobody’s business but
their own. Neither the Law nor Society can, with any show
of justice, interfere. That they do interfere, is a survival of
feudalism, a survival of the system under which the individual,
the subject, had no liberty, no rights. If a man and a woman
love each other, they should be as free to determine for themselves
the character, extent, and duration of their intercourse, as two
friends should be. If they wish to live together under the same
roof, let them. If they wish to retain their separate domiciles, let
them. If they wish to cleave to each other till death severs them
—if they wish to part on the morrow of their union—let
them, by heaven. But the couple who go before a priest or a
magistrate, and bind themselves in ceremonial marriage, are
serving to perpetuate tyranny, are insulting the dignity of human
nature.” Such was the gospel which Nina had absorbed (don’t,
for goodness’ sake, imagine that I approve of it because I cite it),
and which she professed in entire good faith. We felt that the
coming man would misapprehend both it and her—though he
would not hesitate to make a convenience of it. Ugh, the
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. c
We formed ourselves round her in a ring of fire, hoping to
frighten the beast away. But we were miserably, fiercely
anxious, suspicious, jealous. We were jealous of everything in
the shape of a man that came into any sort of contact with her :
of the men who passed her in the street or rode with her in the
omnibus ; of the little employés de commerce to whom she gave
English lessons ; of everybody. I fancy we were always more or
less uneasy in our minds when she was out of our sight. Who could
tell what might be happening ? With those lips of hers, those
eyes of hers—oh, we knew how she could love : Chalks had said
it. Who could tell what might already have happened ? Who
could tell that the coming man had not already come ? She was
entirely capable of concealing him from us. Sometimes, in the
evening, she would seem absent, preoccupied. How could we be
sure that she wasn’t thinking of him ? Savouring anew the hours
she had passed with him that very day ? Or dreaming of those
she had promised him for to-morrow ? If she took leave of us—
might he not be waiting to join her round the corner ? If she
spent an evening away from us…..
And she—she only laughed ; laughed at our jealousy, our fears,
our precautions, as she laughed at our hankering flame. Not
a laugh that reassured us, though ; an inscrutable, enigmatic
laugh, that might have covered a multitude of sins. She had
taken to calling us collectively Loulou ” Ah, le pauv’ Loulou—
so now he has the pretension to be jealous.” Then she would be
interrupted by a paroxysm of laughter ; after which, ” Oh, qu’il
est drôle,” she would gasp. ” Pourvu qu’il ne devienne pas
gênant ! ”
It was all very well to laugh ; but some of us, our personal
equation quite apart, could not help feeling that the joke was of a
precarious quality, that the situation held tragic possibilities. A
young and attractive girl, by no means constitutionally insus-
ceptible, and imbued with heterodox ideas of marriage—alone in
the Latin Quarter.
I have heard it maintained that the man has yet to be born, who,
in his heart of hearts, if he comes to think the matter over, won’t
find himself at something of a loss to conceive why any given
woman should experience the passion of love for any other man ;
that a woman’s choice, to all men save the chosen, is, by its very
nature, as incomprehensible as the postulates of Hegel. But, in
Nina’s case, even when I regard it from this distance of time, I
still feel, as we all felt then, that the mystery was more than
ordinarily obscure. We had fancied ourselves prepared for any-
thing ; the only thing we weren’t prepared for was the thing that
befell. We had expected ” him ” to be offensive, and he wasn’t.
He was, quite simply, insignificant. He was a South American,
a Brazilian, a member of the School of Mines : a poor, undersized,
pale, spiritless, apologetic creature, with rather a Teutonic-looking
name, Ernest Mayer. His father, or uncle, was Minister of
Agriculture, or Commerce, or something, in his native land ; and
he himself was attached in some nominal capacity to the Brazilian
Legation, in the Rue de Téhéran, whence, on State occasions, he
enjoyed the privilege of enveloping his meagre little person in a
very gorgeous diplomatic uniform. He was beardless, with vague
features, timid light-blue eyes, and a bluish anæmic skin. In
manner he was nervous, tremulous, deprecatory—perpetually
bowing, wriggling, stepping back to let you pass, waving his
hands, palms outward, as if to protest against giving you trouble.
And in speech—upon my word, I don’t think I ever heard him
compromise himself by any more dangerous assertion than that
the weather was fine, or he wished you good-day. For the most
part he listened mutely, with a flickering, perfunctory smile.
From time to time, with an air of casting fear behind him and
dashing into the imminent deadly breach, he would hazard an
” Ah, oui,” or a ” Pas mal.” For the rest, he played the piano
prettily enough, wrote colourless, correct French verse, and was
reputed to be an industrious if not a brilliant student—what we
called un sérieux.
It was hard to believe that beautiful, sumptuous Nina Childe,
with her wit, her humour, her imagination, loved this neutral little
fellow ; yet she made no secret of doing so. We tried to frame
a theory that would account for it. ” It’s the maternal instinct,”
suggested one. ” It’s her chivalry,” said another ; ” she’s the sort
of woman who could never be very violently interested by a man
of her own size. She would need one she could look up to, or
else one she could protect and pat on the head.” ” ‘God be
thanked, the meanest of His creatures boasts two soul-sides, one to
face the world with, one to show a woman when he loves her,'”
quoted a third. ” Perhaps Coco “—we had nicknamed him Coco
—” has luminous qualities that we don’t dream of, to which he
gives the rein when they’re à deux.”
Anyhow, if we were mortified that she should have preferred
such a one to us, we were relieved to think that she hadn’t fallen
into the clutches of a blackguard, as we had feared she would.
That Coco was a blackguard we never guessed. We made the
best of him, because we had to choose between doing that and
seeing less of Nina ; in time, I am afraid—such is the influence
of habit—we rather got to like him, as one gets to like any
innocuous, customary thing. And if we did not like the situation
—for none of us, whatever may have been our practice, shared
Nina’s hereditary theories anent the sexual conventions— we
recognised that we couldn’t alter it, and we shrugged our shoulders
resignedly, trusting it might be no worse.
And then, one day, she announced, ” Ernest and I are going to
be married.” And when we cried out why, she explained that—
despite her own conviction that marriage was a barbarous institu-
tion—she felt, in the present state of public opinion, people owed
legitimacy to their children. So Ernest, who, according to both
French and Brazilian law, could not, at his age, marry without
his parents’ consent, was going home to procure it. He would
sail next week ; he would be back before three months. Ernest
sailed from Lisbon ; and the post, a day or two after he was safe
at sea, brought Nina a letter from him. It was a wild, hysterical,
remorseful letter, in which he called himself every sort of name.
He said his parents would never dream of letting him marry her.
They were Catholics, they were very devout, they had prejudices,
they had old-fashioned notions. Besides, he had been as good as
affianced to a lady of their election ever since he was born. He
was going home to marry his second cousin.
Shortly after the birth of Camille I had to go to London, and
it was nearly a year before I came back to Paris. Nina was
looking better than when I had left, but still in nowise like her
old self—pale and worn and worried, with a smile that was the
ghost of her former one. She had been waiting for my return,
she said, to have a long talk with me. ” I have made a little plan.
I want you to advise me. Of course you must advise me to stick
And when we had reached her lodgings, and were alone in the
salon, ” It is about Camille, it is about her bringing-up,” she
explained. ” The Latin Quarter ? It is all very well for you,
for me ; but for a growing child ? Oh, my case was different ;
I had my father. But Camille ? Restaurants, cafés, studios, the
Boul’ Miche, and this little garret—do they form a wholesome
environment ? Oh, no, no—I am not a renegade. I am a
Bohemian ; I shall always be ; it is bred in the bone. But my
daughter—ought she not to have the opportunity, at least, of being
different, of being like other girls ? You see, I had my father ;
she will have only me. And I distrust myself ; I have no
‘ system.’ Shall I not do better, then, to adopt the system of the
world ? To give her the conventional education, the conventional
‘ advantages ‘ ? A home, what they call home influences.
Then, when she has grown up, she can choose for herself.
Besides, there is the question of francs and centimes. I have
been able to earn a living for myself, it is true. But even that is
more difficult now ; I can give less time to work ; I am in debt.
And we are two ; and our expenses must naturally increase from
year to year. And I should like to be able to put something
aside. Hand-to-mouth is a bad principle when you have a growing
After a little pause she went on : “So my problem is, first, how
to earn our livelihood, and, secondly, how to make something like
a home for Camille, something better than this tobacco-smoky,
absinthe-scented atmosphere of the Latin Quarter. And I can
see only one way of accomplishing the two things. You will
smile—but I have considered it from every point of view. I have
examined myself, my own capabilities. I have weighed all the
chances. I wish to take a flat, in another quarter of the town,
near the Etoile or the Pare Monceau, and—open a pension. There
is my plan.”
I had a much simpler and pleasanter plan of my own, but of
that, as I knew, she would hear nothing. I did not smile at hers,
however ; though I confess it was not easy to imagine madcap
Nina in the rôle of a landlady, regulating the accounts and pre-
siding at the table of a boarding-house. I can’t pretend that I
believed there was the slightest likelihood of her filling it with
success. But I said nothing to discourage her ; and the fact that
she is rich to-day proves how little I divined the resources of her
character. For the boarding-house she kept was an exceedingly
good boarding-house ; she showed herself the most practical of
mistresses ; and she prospered amazingly. Jeanselme, whose
father had recently died, leaving him a fortune, lent her what
money she needed to begin with ; she took and furnished a flat in
the Avenue de l’Alma ; and I—I feel quite like an historical
personage when I remember that I was her first boarder. Others
soon followed me, though, for she had friends amongst all the
peoples of the earth—English and Americans, Russians, Italians,
Austrians, even Roumanians and Servians, as well as French ;
and each did what he could to help. At the end of a year she
overflowed into the flat above ; then into that below ; then she
acquired the lease of the entire house. She worked tremendously,
she was at it early and late, her eyes were everywhere ; she set an
excellent table ; she employed admirable servants ; and if her
prices were a bit stiff, she gave you your money’s worth, and
there were no ” surprises.” It was comfortable and quiet ; the
street was bright, the neighbourhood convenient. You could
dine in the common salle-à-manger if you liked, or in your
private sitting-room. And you never saw your landlady except
for purposes of business. She lived apart, in the entresol, alone
with Camille and her body-servant Jeanne. There was the
” home ” she had set out to make.
Meanwhile another sort of success was steadily thrusting itself
upon her—she certainly never went out of her way to seek it ; she
was much too busy to do that. Such of her old friends as remained
in Paris came frequently to see her, and new friends gathered
round her. She was beautiful, she was intelligent, responsive,
entertaining. In her salon, on a Friday evening, you would meet
half the lions that were at large in the town—authors, painters,
actors, actresses, deputies, even an occasional Cabinet minister.
Red ribbons and red rosettes shone from every corner of the
room. She had become one of the oligarchs of la haute Bohème, she
had become one of the celebrities of Paris. It would be tiresome
to count the novels, poems, songs, that were dedicated to her, the
portraits of her, painted or sculptured, that appeared at the
Mirlitons or the Palais de l’Industrie. Numberless were the
partis who asked her to marry them (I know one, at least, who
has returned to the charge again and again), but she only laughed,
and vowed she would never marry. I don’t say that she has
never had her fancies, her experiences ; but she has consistently
scoffed at marriage. At any rate, she has never affected the least
repentance for what some people would call her ” fault.” Her
ideas of right and wrong have undergone very little modification.
She was deceived in her estimate of the character of Ernest Mayer,
if you please ; but she would indignantly deny that there was
anything sinful, anything to be ashamed of, in her relations with
him. And if, by reason of them, she at one time suffered a good
deal of pain, I am sure she accounts Camille an exceeding great
compensation. That Camille is her child she would scorn to
make a secret. She has scorned to assume the conciliatory title
of Madame. As plain Mademoiselle, with a daughter, you must
take her or leave her. And, somehow, all this has not seemed to
make the faintest difference to her clientèle, not even to the
primmest of the English. I can’t think of one of them who
did not treat her with deference, like her, and recommend
But her house they need recommend no more, for she has
Last spring, when I was in Paris, she told me she was about to do
so. ” Ouf ! I have lived with my nose to the grindstone long
enough. I am going to ‘retire.'” What money she had saved from
season to season, she explained, she had entrusted to her friend
Baron C * * * * * for speculation. ” He is a wizard, and so
I am a rich woman. I shall have an income of something like
three thousand pounds, mon cher ! Oh, we will roll in it. I have
had ten bad years—ten hateful years. You don’t know how I
have hated it all, this business, this drudgery, this cut-and-dried,
methodical existence—moi, enfant de Bohème ! But, enfin, it was
obligatory. Now we will change all that. Nous reviendrons à
nos premières amours. I shall have ten good years—ten years of
barefaced pleasure. Then—I will range myself—perhaps. There
is the darlingest little house for sale, a sort of châlet, built of red
brick, with pointed windows and things, in the Rue de Lisbonne.
I shall buy it—furnish it—decorate it. Oh, you will see. I shall
have my carriage, I shall have toilets, I shall entertain, I shall
give dinners—olàlà ! No more boarders, no more bores, cares,
responsibilities. Only, my friends and—life! I feel like one
emerging from ten years in the galleys, ten years of penal
servitude. To the Pension Childe—bonsoir ! ”
” That’s all very well for you,” her listener complained sombrely.
” But for me ? Where shall I stop when I come to Paris ? ”
” With me. You shall be my guest. I will kill you if you
ever go elsewhere. You shall pass your old age in a big chair in
the best room, and Camille and I will nurse your gout and make
herb-tea for you.”
” And I shall sit and think of what might have been.”
” Yes, we’ll indulge all your little foibles. You shall sit and
‘ feel foolish ‘—from dawn to dewy eve.”
If you had chanced to be walking in the Bois-de-Boulogne this
afternoon, you might have seen a smart little basket-phaeton flash
past, drawn by two glossy bays, and driven by a woman—a
woman with sparkling eyes, a lovely colour, great quantities of
soft dark hair, and a figure—
” Hélas, mon père, la taille d’une déesse “—
a smiling woman, in a wonderful blue-grey toilet, grey driving-
gloves, and a bold-brimmed grey-felt hat with waving plumes.
And in the man beside her you would have recognised your
servant. You would have thought me in great luck, perhaps you
would have envied me. But—esse, quam videri !—I would I were
as enviable as I looked.
IN the late autumn’s dusky-golden prime,
When sickles gleam, and rusts the idle plough,
The time of apples dropping from the bough,
And yellow leaves on sycamore and lime.
O’er grassy uplands far above the sea
Often at twilight would my footsteps fare,
And oft I met a stranger-woman there
Who stayed and spake with me :
Hard by the ancient barrow smooth and green,
Whose rounded burg swells dark upon the sky
Lording it high o’er dusky dell and dene,
We wandered—she and I.
Ay, many a time as came the evening hour
And the red moon rose up behind the sheaves,
I found her straying by that barren bower,
Her fair face glimmering like a white wood-flower
That gleams through withered leaves :
Her mouth was redder than the pimpernel,
Her eyes seemed darker than the purple air
‘Neath brows half hidden—I remember well—
‘Mid mists of cloudy hair.
And all about her breast, around her head,
Was wound a wide veil shadowing cheek and chin,
Woven like the ancient grave-gear of the dead :
A twisted clasp and pin
Confined her long blue mantle’s heavy fold
Of splendid tissue dropping to decay,
Faded like some rich raiment worn of old,
With rents and tatters gaping to the day.
Her sandals, wrought about with threads of gold,
Scarce held together still, so worn were they,
Yet sewn with winking gems of green and blue,
Where pale as pearls her naked feet shone through.
And all her talk was of some outland rare,
Where myrtles blossom by the blue sea’s rim,
And life is ever good and sunny and fair ;
” Long since,” she sighed, ” I sought this island grey.
Here where the wind moans and the sun is dim,
When his beaked galleys cleft the ocean spray,
For love I followed him.”
Once, as we stood, we heard the nightingale
Pipe from a thicket on the sheer hillside,
Breathless she hearkened, still and marble-pale,
Then turned to me with strange eyes open wide—
” Now I remember ! …. Now I know ! ” said she,
” Love will be life …. ah, Love is Life ! ” she cried,
” And thou—thou lovest me ? “
I took her chill hands gently in mine own,
” Dear, but no love is mine to give,” I said,
” My heart is colder than the granite stone
That guards my true-love in her grassy bed ;
My faith and troth are hers, and hers alone,
Are hers …. and she is dead.”
Weeping, she drew her veil about her face,
And faint her accents were and dull with pain ;
” Poor Vespertilia ! gone her days of grace,
Now doth she plead for love—and plead in vain :
None praise her beauty now, or woo her smile !
* * * * *
Ah, hadst thou loved me but a little while,
I might have lived again.
Then slowly as a wave along the shore
She glided from me to yon sullen mound ;
My frozen heart, relenting, smote me sore—
Too late—I searched the hollow slopes around,
Swiftly I followed her, but nothing found,
Nor saw nor heard her more.
And now, alas, my true-love’s memory
Even as a dream of night-time half-forgot,
Fades faint and far from me,
And all my thoughts are of the stranger still,
Yea, though I loved her not :
I loved her not—and yet—I fain would see,
Upon the wind-swept hill,
Her dark veil fluttering in the autumn breeze ;
Fain would I hear her changeful voice awhile,
Soft as the wind of spring-tide in the trees,
And watch her slow, sweet smile.
Ever the thought of her abides with me
Unceasing as the murmur of the sea ;
When the round moon is low and night-birds flit,
When sink the stubble-fires with smouldering flame,
Over and o’er the sea-wind sighs her name,
And the leaves whisper it.
” Poor Vespertilia,” sing the grasses sere,
” Poor Vespertilia,” moans the surf-beat shore ;
Almost I feel her very presence near—
Yet she comes nevermore.
The House of Shame
By H. B. Marriott Watson
THERE was no immediate response to his knock, and, ere he
rapped again, Farrell turned stupidly and took in a vision of
the street. The morning sunshine streamed on Piccadilly ; a
snap of air shook the tree-tops in the Park ; and beyond, the
greensward sparkled with dew. The traffic roared along the road-
way, but the cabs upon the stand rode like ships at anchor on a
windless ocean. Below him flowed the tide of passengers. The dis-
passion of that drifting scene affected him by contrast with his own
warm flood of emotions ; the picture—the trees, the sunlight, and
the roar—imprinted itself sharply upon his brain. His glance flitted
among the faces, and wandered finally to the angle of the crossway,
by which his cab was sauntering leisurely. With a shudder he
wheeled face-about to the door, and raised the clapper. For a
moment yet he stood in hesitation. The current of his thoughts
ran like a mill-race, and a hundred discomforting impressions
flowed together. The house lay so quiet ; the sunlight struck the
window-panes with a lively and discordant glare. He put his
hand into his pocket and withdrew a latchkey, twiddling it
restlessly between his fingers. With a thrust and a twist the door
would slip softly open, and he might enter unobserved. He
entertained the impulse but a moment. He dared not enter in
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. D
that nocturnal fashion ; he would prefer admittance publicly, in
the eye of all, as one with nothing to conceal, with no black
shame upon him. His return should be ordinary, matter-of-fact ;
he would choose that Jackson should see him cool and unperturbed.
In some way, too, he vaguely hoped to cajole his memory, and
to ensnare his willing mind into a belief that nothing unusual had
He knocked with a loud clatter, feet sounded in the hall, and
the door fell open. Jackson looked at him with no appearance
” Good morning, Jackson,” he said, kicking his feet against the
step. He entered, and laid his umbrella in the stand. ” Is your
mistress up yet ? ” he asked.
” Yes, sir,” said the servant, placidly; ” she’s in the morning-
room, sir, I think.”
There was no emotion in the man’s voice ; his face wore no
aspect of suspicion or inquiry, and somehow Farrell felt already
relieved. To-day was as yesterday, unmarked by any grave event.
” Ah ! ” he said, and passed down the hall. At the foot of the
stairs he paused again, with a pretence of dusting something from
his coat, and winced at the white gleam of his dress-shirt.
Nothing stirred in the house save a maid brushing overhead, and
for a while he lingered. He still shrank from encountering his
wife, and there was his room for refuge until he had put on a quieter
habit of mind. His clothes damned him so loudly that all the
world must guess at a glance. And then again the man resumed
his manliness ; he would not browbeat himself for the mere know-
ledge of his own shame ; and, passing rapidly along the hall, he
pushed open the door of the morning-room.
A woman rose on his entrance, with a happy little cry.
” George ! ” she said, ” Dear George, I’m so glad.”
She put up her arms and lifted her face to him. Farrell
shivered ; the invitation repelled him ; in the moment of that
innocent welcome the horror of his sin rose foul before him. He
touched her lightly on the cheek and withdrew a little distance.
” I’m not a nice object, Letty,” he faltered ; ” see what a mess
the beastly mud has made of me. And look at my fine dress-
clothes.” He laughed with constraint. ” You’d think I lived in
” Oh, dearest, I was so disappointed,” said the girl ; ” I sat up
ever so late for you. But I was so tired. I’m always tired now.
And at last I yawned myself to sleep. Where ever have you been ? ”
The colour flickered in Farrell’s face, and his fingers trembled
on the table.
” Oh, I couldn’t get away from Fowler’s, you know. Went
there after the club, and lost my train like a fool.”
His uneasy eyes rose furtively to her face. He was invested
with morbid suspicions, suspicions of her suspicion ; but the girl’s
gaze rested frankly upon him, and she smiled pleasantly.
” That dreadful club ! You shan’t go there again for a week,
darling. I’m so glad you’ve come. I was nearly being very
frightened about you. I’ve been so lonely.” She took him by
the arm. ” Poor dear, and you had to come all through London
with those things on. Didn’t people stare ? ”
” I will change them,” he said abruptly, and turned to leave.
” What ! ” she said archly, ” Would you go without—and I
haven’t seen you for so long.” She threw her arms about his neck.
” For God’s sake—No, no, Letty, don’t touch me,” he broke
The girl’s lips parted, and a look of pain started into her face.
” I mean ” he explained quickly, ” I am so very dirty, dear.
You’d soil your pretty frock.”
” Silly ! “
” Silly ! ” she returned smiling, ” and it isn’t a pretty frock. I
can’t wear pretty frocks any longer,” she added mournfully.
He dropped his eyes before the flush that sprang into her cheeks,
and left the room hurriedly.
His shame followed him about all day, dogging him like a
shadow. It lurked in corners and leaped out upon him. Some-
times it crept away and hovered in the remoter distance ; he had
almost forgotten its attendance ; and then in the thick of his
laughing conversation it fell upon him black once more. It
skulked ever within call, dwindled at times, grey and insignificant.
When he stopped to exchange a sentence in the street, it slid
away ; he moved on solitary, and it ran out before him, dark
and portentous. Remorse bit deep into him, remorse and a
certain fear of discovery. The hours with his wife were filled
with uneasy thoughts, and he would fain have variegated the
cheerless monotony of his conscience by adding a guest to his
dinner-table. But from this course he was deterred by delicacy ;
for, at his suggestion, Letty looked at him, winced a little, smiled
ever so faintly, and, with an ineffable expression of tender em-
barrassment, drew her dressing-gown closer round her body. He
could not press the indignity upon her young and sensitive
But the fall of night, which he had so dreaded, brought him a
change of mood. The table was stocked with the fine fruits of a
rare intelligence ; the plate shone with the white linen ; and
all the comforts waited upon his appetite. It was no gross
content that overtook him, but the satisfaction of a body gently
appeased. His sin had faded wonderfully into the distance, had
grown colder, and no longer burned intolerably upon his con-
science. He found himself at times regarding it with reluctant
equanimity. He stared at it with the eyes of a judicial stranger.
Men were so wide apart from women ; they were ruled by
another code of morals. If this were a pity, it fell at least of
their nature and their history. Was not this the prime lesson
science had taught the world ? But still the shame flickered up
before him ; he could watch its appearances more calmly, could
reason and debate of it, but it was still impertinently persistent.
And yet he was more certain of himself. To-morrow the discom-
fort would return, no doubt, but with enfeebled spirit ; he would
suffer a very proper remorse for some time—perhaps a week—and
then the affair would dismiss itself, and his memory would own
the dirty blot no longer. As the meal went forward his temper
rose. He smiled upon his wife with less diffidence ; he conversed
with less effort. But strangely, as he mended, and the first horror
of his guilt receded, he had a leaning to confession. Before, he
had felt that pardon was impossible, but now that he was come
within range of forgiving himself, he began to desire forgiveness
from Letty also. The inclination was vague and formless, yet
it moved him towards the subject in an aimless way. He found
himself wondering, with a throb in his blood, how she would
receive his admissions, and awoke with the tail of her last
sentence in his ears.
” I’m so glad the servants have gone. I much prefer being
alone with you, George.”
” Yes,” he murmured absently, ” they’re a nuisance, aren’t
they ? ”
She pushed the claret to him, and he filled his glass abstractedly.
Should he tell her now, he was thinking, and let penitence and
pardon crown a terrible day ? At her next words he looked up,
” Had Mr. Fowler any news of Edward ? ” she asked idly.
The direction of her thoughts was his ; he played with the
thought of confession ; his mind itched to be freed of its
” Oh no, we were too busy,” he laughed uneasily. ” The fact
is, you see, Letty dear—I have a confession to make——
She regarded him inquiringly, even anxiously. He had taken
the leap without his own knowledge ; the words refused to frame
upon his tongue. Of a sudden the impulse fled, screaming for its
life, and he was brought up, breathless and scared, upon the brink
of a giddy precipice.
” What confession, darling ? ” she asked in a voice which showed
The current of his ideas stopped in full flow ; where a hundred
explanations should have rushed about his brain, he could find not
one poor lie for use.
” What do you mean, dearest ? ” said his wife, her face
straightened with anxiety.
Farrell paled and flushed warm. ” Oh nothing, my darling
child,” he said with a hurried laugh ; ” we played baccarat.”
” George ! ” she cried reproachfully. ” How could you, when
you had promised ? ”
” I don’t know,” he stumbled on feverishly. ” I was weak, I
suppose, and they wanted it, and—God knows I’ve never done it
before, since I promised, Letty,” be broke off sharply.
The girl said nothing at the moment, but sat staring at the
table-cloth, and then reached out a hand and touched his tremulous
” There, there, dear boy,” she murmured soothingly, ” I won’t
be cross ; only please, please, don’t break your word again,”
” No, I won’t, I won’t,” muttered the man.
” I daresay it was hard, but it cost you your train, George, and
you were punishe by losing my society for one whole night. So
there—it’s all right.” She pressed the hand softly, her face
ing under the candle-light with some soft emotion.
Farrell withdrew his arm gently.
” Have some more wine, dear,” said his wife.
She raised the bottle, and was replenishing his glass when he
pushed it roughly aside.
” No more,” he said shortly, ” no more.”
The wound broke open in his conscience, red and raw. The
peace which had gathered upon him lifted ; he was shaken into
fears and tremors, and that devilish memory, which had retired so
far, came back upon him, urgent and instant, proclaiming him a
coward and a scoundrel. He sat silent and disturbed, with his
eyes upon the crumbs, among which his fingers were playing rest-
lessly. Letty rose, and passed to the window.
” How dark it has fallen ! ” she said, peeping through the
blinds, ” and the rain is pelting so hard. I’m glad I’m not out.
How cold it is ! Do stir the fire, dearest.”
Farrell rose, and went to the chimneypiece. He struck the
poker through the crust of coal, and the flames leapt forth and
roared about the pieces. The heat burned in his face. There came
upon him unbidden the recollection of those days, a year ago,
when he and Letty had nestled side by side, watching for fortunes
in the masses of that golden core. She had seen palaces and stately
domes ; her richer imagination culled histories from the glowing
embers ; while he, searching and searching in vain, had been
content to receive her fancies and sit by simply with his arm
about her. The thought touched him to a smile as he mused in
the flood of the warmth.
Letty still stood peering out upon the street, and her voice
came to him, muffled, from behind the curtain.
” Oh, those poor creatures ! How cold and how wet they must
be ! Look, George, dear. Why don’t they go indoors out of
the rain ? ”
Farrell, the smile still upon his lips, turned his face towards
her as he stooped.
” Who, child ? “
” Why, those women,” said his wife, pitifully, ” why don’t they
go home ? They keep coming backwards and forwards. I’ve seen
the same faces pass several times. And they look so bleak and
wretched, with those horrid tawdry dresses. No one ought to be
The poker fell from Farrell’s hand with a clatter upon the
” Damn them ! ” he cried, in a fierce, harsh voice.
The girl pulled the curtain back, and looked at him.
” Darling,” she said, plaintively, ” what is it ? Why do you
say such horrible things ? ”
Farrell’s face was coloured with passion ; he stood staring
angrily at her.
” George, George,” she said, coming to him, ” why are you so
angry with me ? Oughtn’t I to be sorry for them ? I can’t help
it ; it seems so sad. I know they’re not nice people. They’re
dreadful, dear, of course. I’ve always heard that,” and she laid her
face against his breast. ” But it can’t be good for them to be out
this wretched night, even if they are wicked.”
She pressed against him as for sympathy, but Farrell made no
response. A fearful tension held his arms and body in a kind of
paralysis ; but presently he patted her head softly, and put her
gently from him.
” I’m in a very bad temper to-night, dear ” he said, slowly. ” I
suppose I ought to go to bed and hide myself till I’m better.”
She clung to him still. ” Don’t put me away, George. I don’t
mind if you are in a bad temper. I love you, dearest. Kiss me,
dear, kiss me ; I get so frightened now.”
A spasm contracted his features ; he bent over and kissed her ;
then he turned away.
” I will go and read,” he said ; ” I shall be better then.”
She ran after him. ” Let me come too, George. I will sit
still and won’t disturb you. You can’t think how I hate being
alone now. I can’t understand it. Do let me come, for you
know I must go to bed early, I was up so late last night.”
The pleading words struck him like a blow. ” Come, then,”
he answered, taking her hand.
” And you may swear if you want to very much,” she whispered,
laughing, as they passed through the door.
The sun rose bright and clear ; the sky, purged of its vapours,
shone as fine as on a midsummer day. With this complaisance of
the weather Farrell’s blacker mood had passed. His weak nature,
sensitive as it was to the touch of circumstances, recovered easily
from their influences. Sleep had renewed the elastic qualities of
his mind, and the smiling heaven set him in great spirits. Letty,
too, seemed better, and ate and talked with a more natural gaiety.
The nightmare of the previous evening was singularly dim and
characterless. He tried to recall the terror of it, and wondered
why it had so affected him, with every circumstance of happiness
around—his smiling wife, a comfortable house, and the pleasant
distractions of fortune. The gulf that opened between Letty
and himself was there by the will of nature. He had but flung
aside the conventions that concealed it. It was a horrid gap, but
he had not contrived it. The sexes kept different laws, and he
himself, in all likelihood, came nearer to what she would require of
him than any other man. He assured himself with conviction
that he would forget altogether in a few days.
The day was pleasantly filled, but not too full for the elaboration
of these arguments. They soothed him ; he grew philosophic ; he
discussed the conditions of love with himself ; he even broached
the problem in an abstract way over his coffee at the club. For
the first time he thought that he had clearly determined the nature
of his affection for Letty. It was integral and single, it was
built upon a pack of sentiments, it was very tender, and it would
wear extremely well ; but it was not that first high passion which
he had once supposed. The unfamiliarity of that earlier
exaltation had deceived him into a false definition of Love. There
was none such in circulation among human bodies. There were
degrees upon degrees of affection, and Letty and he stood very
high in rank ; but to conceive of their love as something emanating
from a superior sphere outside relation to the world and other human
beings was the absurd and delightful flight of heedless passion.
He had laid his ghost, and came home to his dinner in an
excellent humour. The girl looked forlorn and weary, but
brightened a good deal on his return. With her for audience he
chattered in quite a sparkling temper. Letty said little, but
regarded him often with great shy eyes. He looked up some-
times to find them upon him with a wistful, even a pleading, gaze.
She watched every movement he took jealously. But she was
obviously content, and even gay in a sad little fashion. He did not
understand, but his spirits were too newly blythe to dwell upon a
puzzle. He noticed with scarce a wonder little starts of pettishness
which he had never seen before. They flashed and were gone, and
the large eyes still followed him with tenderness. She rested her
arm across the table in the middle of a story he was telling, and
rearranged his silver.
” You must not cross your knives,” she said playfully. ” That’s
a bad omen.” He laughed and continued his narrative.
Left to himself, Farrell lit a cigarette and filled his glass with
wine. The current of his spirits had passed, but he felt extremely
comfortable, and very shortly his mind stole after his wife, who
was playing softly in the further room. He could see the yellow
fabric of the distant curtains gleaming softly in the lamp-light.
He had a desire for a certain air, but could not bring himself to
interrupt. An atmosphere of content enwrapped him, and he
leaned back lazily in his chair. Reflections came to him easily.
Surely there was no greater comfort than this serene domestic
happiness with its pleasant round of change. He had set Letty’s
love and his in a place too low for justice. It held a sweeter
fragrance, it was touched with higher light, than the commoner
affections of common people. A genial warmth flooded his soul,
and his heart nestled into the comfort of desire. He was hot
with wine, and his whole being thrilled with the content of his own
reflections. He asked no better than this quiet ecstacy, repeated
though a suave untroubled life. The personal charm of that fine
body, the intimate distinctions of its subtle grace, the flow of that
soft voice, the sweet attention of that devoted human soul—these
were his lot by fortune. They conducted him upon a future
which was strangely attractive. He had loved her for some months
more than a year, and earlier that day he had summoned his
bridal thoughts down to a pedestrian level ; but how in this hour of
sudden illumination, flushed with the kindly influence of his wine,
his afternoon fancy seemed to him ungenerously clipt and tame.
Letty stood for what was noble in his narrow life ; she invited
him upon a high ideal way. If he were framed of grosser clay,
it was she who would refine the fabric. The thought struck
him sharply. He had learned to dispose his error in its proper
place, among the sins, and he was not going to assign penalties
unduly ; but the bare fact came home to him that he was
unworthy of this woman’s love, that no man deserved it. He
had evilly entreated her, but he would rise to a new level in her
company and with her aid. She should renew in him the faded
qualities of innocence and pure-heartedness which as a child he
had once possessed. He would ask her mercy, and use her help.
Her pardon should purge him of his dishonour ; she should take him
to her heart, and perfect faith should rest between them.
The vision he had conceived drew his attention strongly ; he
seemed to himself, and in a measure was, ennobled by this aspira-
tion. Out of the fulness of his penitence he now desired the
confession he had feared but a little time before. And, as he
reflected, the notes of the piano changed, and Letty shot into
a gay chansonnette, trilling softly over the sharp little runs. The
careless leisure of the air took off his thoughts with it. It
would be a bad world in which they might not be happy. The
story would hurt her, he was sure ; indeed, he could conjure before
him the start of pain in her eyes. But after the shock she would
resume her trust, and forget, as he was forgetting. He was entirely
certain of her love, and, that secure, nothing could divide them.
Perhaps she were better left to herself till she recovered from the
blow ; he would go away for a day or two. It might even take
her worse than he expected, and he would have dull faces and
tearful reproaches for a week or more. If this fell out, it was his
punishment, and he would bear it in humility.
As his thoughts ran he had not noticed that the music ceased,
and Letty’s voice broke on his reverie.
” Mayn’t I sit with you, dear,” she pleaded. ” It’s so solitary
in the big room ! ”
” Why, of course, sweetheart,” said Farrell gently ; ” come in,
and close the door ; we’ll be snug for a little while in here.”
Letty stood by his chair and stroked his head.
” You never came to say good-night to me last night,” she said
Farrell put up his hand and took hers.
” Dearest, you must forgive me. I—I was very tired, and had
” Ah, that was the penalty for staying up so late,” she replied
Farrell smiled and patted her hand.
” But you will come to-night, won’t you ? ” she urged.
” Dear heart, of course I will,” he said, smiling indulgently.
” I’ll come and have a long talk with you.”
His wife sighed, in part, as it seemed, with satisfaction, and
leaned her chin upon his hair.
” Life is very curious, isn’t it, George ? ” she said meditatively,
her eyes gazing in abstraction at the wall. ” There are so many
things we don’t know. I never dreamed——
Farrell patted her hand again, affectionately, reassuringly.
” I couldn’t have guessed,” she went on, dreamily. ” It is all
so strange and painful, and yet not quite painful. I wonder if
you understand, George.”
” I think I do, dear,” said he softly.
” Ah, but how can you quite ? Girls are so ignorant. Do
you think they ought to be told ? I shouldn’t have liked to be
told, though. I should have been so afraid, but now somehow I’m
not afraid—not quite.”
A note of pain trembled through her voice ; she drew a sharp
breath and shivered.
” George, you don’t think I shall die, do you, George ? Oh,
George, if I should die ! ”
She fell on her knees at his feet, looking into his face
with searching eyes that pleaded for comfort. He drew her
head towards him, a gulp in his throat, and caressed her
” There, child, there ! ” he said soothingly, ” you are frightening
yourself. Of course not, silly one, of course not.”
She crouched against his knees, and he stroked her hair tenderly.
Pity pulled at his heart, and at the touch of her he was warmed
with affection. He had no means of consolation save this
smoothing motion of the palm, but he yearned for some deeper
expression of his love and sympathy. In the silence his thoughts
turned to their former occupation, and he felt nearer than ever
to his wife. He would tell her when she had recovered.
She raised her head at length and looked at him.
” Oh, you will think I’m not brave ” she said tremulously,
” but I am brave—indeed, George. It is only sometimes that I
get this fit of depression, and it overbears me. But it isn’t me ;—
it is something quite foreign within me : I was never a coward,
” No, darling,” he answered, ” of course you are not a coward.
You’re brave, very brave ; you’re my dear brave wife.” She
smiled at him faintly. ” And you know, Letty,” he went on,
still with his hand upon her head. ” I think we’ve been very
happy together, and shall be very happy together, always. There
is so much that binds us to one another. You love me, dear,
don’t you ? and you could never doubt that I love you, could
you ? ”
Letty shook her head. He cast down his eyes, patting the
” And I think you know that well enough and are certain
enough of that not to misjudge me,” he resumed quietly. ” If I
have made a mistake, Letty, it is not you who will be hardest
on me, I am sure. It is I myself. If I have fallen into a
seeming disloyalty, it is not I, as you will believe and understand,
but something, as you said just now, quite foreign within me.
For I could only be true and loyal and—”
He hesitated, raising his shameful eyes to her.
” What—what is it, George ? ” she asked anxiously, ” what
have you done ? ” His hand rose and fell mechanically upon her
head. He parted his lips with an effort, and continued. The
task was harder than he had thought.
” It is right ” he said slowly, ” that we should have no secrets
from one another; it is necessary, dear, that we should bear all things
in common. To be man and wife, and to love each other, calls for
this openness between us.” He stumbled on the threshold of his
confession ; the pain of this slow progression suddenly unnerved
him ; all at once he took it with a rush. ” Darling,” he cried
quickly and on a sharper note, ” I want to confess something to
you, and I want your forgiveness. That night I was away I
did not spend with Fowler. I spent it—
” You spent it gambling ? ” she asked, in a low voice.
” No,” he said with a groan, ” I spent it in another house—I
spent it—I spent it in shame.”
He breathed the better for the words, even though a terrible
silence reigned in the room. At least the worst part of his
penalty was undergone, for the explanation was over.
But when she spoke he realised, with a sense of dread, that he
had not passed the ordeal.
” I don’t understand, George,” she said in a voice thick with
trouble. ” What is it ? Where did you stay ? ”
The strain was too great for his weak nerves. ” For God’s
sake, Letty,” he broke out, ” try to understand me and forgive
me. I dined too well ; I was almost drunk. I left the club with
Fowler very late. Oh, it’s hideous to have to tell you. I met
some one I had never seen since—Oh, long before I loved you. I
could not pass her. I—O God ! can’t you understand ? Don’t
make me explain so horribly.”
The tale ran from him in short and broken sentences. His
fingers twisted nervously about a wisp of her hair ; his gaze had
nowhere rest. She looked full into his face with frightened
” Do you mean—those women—we saw ? ” she asked at last,
in a voice pitched so low that he hardly heard.
” Yes,” he whispered ; and then again there was silence. The
agony of the suspense was intolerable. ” You will never forgive
me,” he muttered.
He felt her trembling hands grow cold under his touch ; and as
she still kept silence, he dropped his slow, reluctant glance to meet
hers. At the sight of the terrified eyes he put his hands towards
” Letty, Letty,” he cried, ” for God’s sake, don’t look like that.
Speak to me ; say you forgive me. Dearest, darling, forgive me.”
She rose as if unconscious of her action, and, walking slowly to
the fireplace, stood looking at the red flames.
” Letty,” he called, ” don’t spurn me like this. Darling,
darling ! ”
His attitude, as he waited for her response, there in the centre of
the room, was one of singular despair. His mouth was wried
with an expression of suffering ; he endured all the pangs of a
sensitive nature which has been always wont to shelter itself from
pain. But still she made no answer. And then she seemed
suddenly taken with a great convulsion ; her body trembled and
shivered ; she wheeled half-way round with a cry ; her eyes shone
” George, George ! ” she screamed on a horrid note of agony,
and swaying for a second to and fro, fell hard across the fender and
against the live bars of the grate.
Farrell sprang across the intervening space and swung her head
away from the angry flames. She lay limp and still upon the
hearth-rug, a smear of black streaking her white arm from the
elbow, the smell of her frizzled gown fusing with the odour of
burned hair. Her face was set white, the mouth peaked with a
spasm of pain ; the eyelids had not fully fallen, and a dreadful
glimmer of light flickered from a slit in the unconscious eyes. He
stood, struck weak and silent for a moment, and then flung himself
upon the floor, and hung over the body.
” Letty, Letty ! ” he cried. ” Letty, Letty ! Oh, my God !
have I killed you ? ” The flesh twitched upon the drawn face, and
a moan issued from her lips. Farrell leapt to the bell-rope and
pulled fast ; and away in some distant depth the peals jangled in
alarm. A servant threw open the door and rushed into the room.
” A doctor, a doctor ! ” cried Farrell, vehemently. ” Get a
doctor at once. Your mistress is ill. Do you hear, Jackson.
God, man, don’t stare at me. Go, go ! ”
As the door closed Farrell’s glance stole back to the floor. His
breath came fast as he contemplated the body. It lay there as
though flung by the hand of death, and wore a pitiful aspect. It
forbade him ; it seemed to lower at him ; he could not associate it
with life, still less with Letty. It owned some separate and
horrible existence of itself. The flames mounting in the fire
threw out great flashes upon the recumbent figure, and the pale
flesh took on a moving colour. Hours seem to pass as he
stood beside her, and not until the quivering eyelids denoted a
return of life did he gain courage to touch her. With that
she became somehow familiar again ; she was no more the blank
eidolon of a woman. He put his arms beneath her and slowly
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. E
lifted the reviving body to the sofa. The blood renewed its
course in the arteries, and she opened her eyes dully and closed
The entrance of the doctor dispelled for a while the gloomy
thoughts that environed him. The man was a stranger, but was
welcomed as an intimate.
” She has had a shock,” said Farrell. ” You will understand.
It was my doing,” he added.
The sharp change from the dreadful reveries of his solitude
turned Farrell to a different creature. He was animated with
action ; he bustled about on errands ; he ran for brandy, and his
legs bore him everywhere, hardly with his knowledge. And as
the examination proceeded he grew strangely cheerful, watching
the face of the physician and drawing inferences to his fancy. He
laughed lightly at the doubt if she could be lifted to her room.
” Yes, of course,” said he.
” The stairs are steep, sir,” said Letty’s maid.
He smiled, and drew back the cuffs from his strong wrists.
Stooping, he picked up his wife lightly, and strode upstairs.
As the doctor was leaving, Farrell waylaid him in the hall,
and took him to the door. The visitor drew on his gloves and
spoke of the weather ; the sky threatened rain again and the night
was growing black. Farrell agreed with him hurriedly, adding a
few remarks of no interest, as though to preserve that air of un-
concern which the doctor seemed to take for granted ; and then,
with his hand on the door, abruptly touched his subject.
” Is there any danger ? ” he asked.
The doctor paused and buttoned his glove.
” She is very sensitive,” said the doctor.
” It was my doing,” said Farrell after a moment, dropping his
eyes to the floor.
” It is a dangerous time,” said the doctor. ” Very little may
do damage. We can’t be too careful in these affairs.”
He finished with his gloves, and put out his hand.
” Have I,” stammered Farrell, ” have I done irreparable
harm ? ”
” She is very delicate,” said the doctor.
” What will it mean ? ” asked the husband, lowering his voice.
The doctor smiled and touched him with his fingers. ” If you
were to cut your finger, my friend, a doctor would never prophesy.
Events are out of all proportions to causes.” He put his own
hand upon the latch. ” I will call to-morrow early,” he said,
” and will send a nurse at once.”
Farrell took his arm in a hard grip.
” Is she dying ? ” he asked hoarsely.
The doctor moved impatiently. ” My dear sir, certainly not,”
he answered hastily. He threw open the door and emerged into
the night. ” I would not distress myself with unnecessary fancies,
Mr. Farrell,” said he, as he dropped down the steps.
Farrell walked down the hall to the foot of the stairs. He laid a
hand upon the balustrade uncertainly. The house was engrossed in
silence ; then from the floor above came a sharp cry, as of a
creature in pain, and a door shut softly. Trembling, he rushed
into the dining-room, and hid his face in his hands. Yet that
weak device was no refuge from his hideous thoughts. His
brain was crowded with fears and terrors ; in the solitude of that
chamber he was haunted by frightful ghosts. The things stood
upon the white cloth, like spectres ; the lamp burned low, and
splashes of flame rose and fell in the ashes. He rose and poured
some brandy into a glass. The muscles jumped in his hands, and
the liquor spilled over the edges and stained his shirt, but the
draught strung up his nerves, and brighter thoughts flowed in his
mind. He pulled out a chair before the fire and sat down,
meditating more quietly.
An hour later he was disturbed from his reflections by the
passage of feet along the hall. His ears took in the sound with
a fret of new anxiety ; it portended fresh horrors to him. But
in a little he realised from the voices without that the nurse had
arrived, and a feeling of relief pervaded him. The footsteps
passed upstairs. He sat passive within the arms of his chair and
listened. A fresh hope of succour lay in those feet. The doctor
and the nurse and the maid were doing what was vital ; in their
attentions was the promise of rescue. It was as if he himself
took no part in the tragedy ; he sat as a spectator in the stalls,
and viewed the action only with the concern of an interested
visitor. He filled another tumbler with spirit.
The alcohol fired his blood, and raised him superior to the petty
worry of his nerves. He drank and stared in the embers and con-
sidered. Letty was ill in a manner not uncommon ; even though
it threatened the sacrifice of one life the malady was not inevitably
mortal. He had been bidden to discharge his fears, and brandy
had discharged them for him. He turned to fill his glass again ;
the fumes were in his head, but at that moment the recollection
of his last excess flashed suddenly upon him, and, with an inarticu-
late scream of rage, he dashed the bottle to the floor, and ground
the glass under his feet. Rising irresolutely he made his way up-
stairs, and paused before Letty’s door. At his knock the nurse
came out and greeted him—a strange tall woman with hard
” My wife,” he asked—” is Mrs. Farrell better ? “
She pushed him gently away. ” I think so,” she said ; ” we shall
see. The worst is over, perhaps. You understand. Hush, she is
sleeping now at last.” He lingered still, and she made a gesture
to dismiss him, her voice softening. ” Doctor Green will tell
you best to-morrow.”
Farrell entered his room and took off his coat. His ears, grown
delicate to the merest suspicion, seemed to catch a sound upon
the stillness, and opening the door he looked out. All was quiet ;
the great lamp upon the landing swung noiselessly, shedding its
dim beams upon the pannelled walls. He shut to the door, and
once more was in the wilderness of his own thoughts.
The doctor came twice that next day. In the morning a white
and anxious face met him on the stairs and scanned him eagerly.
” She is going on, going on ” said he deliberately.
” Then the danger is past ? ” cried Farrell, his heart beating
with new vigour.
” No doctor can say that,” said the doctor slowly. ” She is as
well as I expected to find her. It was very difficult.”
” But will she—” began Farrell, stammering.
” Well ? ” exclaimed the doctor sharply.
” Will she live ? “
The doctor’s eye avoided his. ” Those things are never certain,”
he said. ” You must hope. I know more than you, and I
” Yes, yes,” cried Farrell impatiently. ” But, my God, doctor,”
he burst forth, ” will she die ? ”
The doctor glanced at him and then away. ” It is possible,”
he said gravely.
Farrell leaned back against the handrail and mechanically
watched him pass the length of the hall and let himself out. Some
one touched his arm, and he looked up.
” Come, sir, come,” said the nurse. ” You musn’t give way.
Nothing has happened. She is very weak, but I’ve seen weaker
folk pull through.”
He descended the stairs and entered the drawing-room. The
room looked vacant ; the inanimate furniture seemed to keep silence
and stare at him ; he felt every object in that place was privy to
his horrible story. They regarded him sternly ; he seemed to
feel the hush in which they had talked together, ere he entered.
He could not bear the condemnation of that silence, and sat
down at the piano, softly fingering the notes. But the voices of
those chords cried to him of Letty. It was her favourite instru-
ment, the purchase of her own means, and every resonance
reminded him of her. It was by her hand that melodies had been
framed and fashioned from the strings ; his was an alien touch.
They wept for their mistress underneath his fingers ; he struck at
random, and melancholy cadences mourned at him. They knew
his secret, too. With a horrid, miserable laugh he got up, and
putting on his hat, went forth and down to his club.
The change did not distract his thoughts ; the burden lay as
heavy upon his mind, but at least the walk was an occupation.
He came back with a bundle of letters which his indolent nature
had allowed to accumulate with the porter, and, retiring to his
smoking-room, made a manful effort to re-engage his attention.
With this work and the hour of lunch, the time passed until the
doctor’s second visit. He heard the arrival, and, putting down his
pen, waited in a growing fever for the sound of feet descending on
the stairs. The smoking-room lay back from the hall, but
Farrell flung open his door and listened. The day was falling in
and the shadows were deepening about him, but still the doctor
made no sign. At length he left his chair and called Jackson.
The doctor had gone. He must have left without noise, for
Jackson had not heard him ; it was a maid who had seen
him go. The discovery threw Farrell into fresh agitation ; his
anger mingled with terror. He had wanted a report of the illness ;
he would have the doctor back at once ; he had a thousand ques-
tions to put. Rushing up the stairs he rapped at the door of the
sick room, softly and feverishly. When the nurse presented her-
self he burst out impetuously. He must come in ; he would see
his wife ; he was persistently held in ignorance of her condition,
and he demanded admittance as a right. The nurse stood aside
and beckoned him forward without a word. Her face was set
harder than ever ; she looked worn and weary.
Farrell entered softly, and with furtive fears.
” You may stay if you will be still,” said the nurse. Farrell
looked at her inquiringly, beseechingly. ” No,” she added, ” you
will not disturb her. She has been put to sleep. She suffered a
good deal. It is a bad case.”
” Will she live ? ” whispered Farrell.
The nurse shook her head. ” She will not suffer much more.
She will sleep. But the doctor will come in the morning. We
have done everything.”
Farrell shuddered, and drew near the bed. The lamp burned
low upon the dressing-table, and the chamber was in a soft
twilight. He could not see her face, but her dark hair was
scattered over the white pillows. A slow slight breathing filled
the room. The window rattled with a passing noise. Farrell sat
down upon a chair beyond the bed, and the nurse resumed her
place by the fire, warming her hands. Outside, the traffic passed
with low and distant rumbling.
* * * * *
At the sound the nurse stole stealthily to the door and
” It is your dinner,” she whispered, turning to Farrell.
He shook his head. ” I will stay here,” said he in a monotone.
” You had better go,” she urged. ” You will want it. You
can do nothing.” He shook his head again, impatiently. She
yawned, closed the door, and, with a little sigh of weariness,
retraced her steps to the hearth. Farrell rose and followed her.
” Come,” he said, bending over her, ” you are very tired. Go
and rest in the next room. There is nothing to be done. I will
call you. Let me watch. I wish it.” She looked at him in
doubt. ” Yes, yes,” he pleaded. ” Don’t you see ? I must be
here, and you want sleep.”
She glanced round the room, as if to assure herself that there
was nothing to require her.
” Very well,” she assented ; ” but call me soon.” And she
vanished through the doorway like a wraith.
Farrell took his seat and regarded his wife. The breathing came
gently ; masses of dark hair swarmed over the head that
crouched low upon the pillow ; one arm, crossing the face with
shadow, lay reaching toward the brow. The room glowed with a
luminous gloom rather than with light. The figure rested upon its
side, and the soft rise of the hip stood out from the hollows of the
coverlet. In the grate the ashes stirred and clinked ; the street
mumbled without; but within that chamber the stillness hung heavily.
Farrell seemed to hear it deepen, and the quiet air spoke louder to
him, as though charged with some secret and mysterious mission.
He followed the hush with a mind half-vacant and wholly irrele-
vant. But presently the faintest rustle came with a roar upon his
senses, and he sprang to his feet, stricken with sudden terror.
The body moved slightly under its wrappings ; the arm dropped
slowly down the pillow into the darker hollows of the counter-
pane ; the hair fell away ; and the face, relapsing, softly edged
into the twilight.
Farrell stood staring, mute and distracted, upon this piteous
piece of poor humanity. Its contrast with the woman he had
known and loved appalled him. His jaw fell open, his nails
scored into his palms, his eyes bulged beneath his brows. The
face rested, white and withered, among the frillings of her gown ;
unaccustomed lines picked out the cheeks ; the mouth was
drawn pitifully small and pinched with suffering. Even as he
looked she seemed to his scared gaze to shrink and shrivel under
pain. This was not the repose of sleep, releasing from the
burden of sickness ; surely he could see her face and body pricked
over with starts and pangs under his eyes. It seemed to his
morbid thoughts that he could read upon her moving features
the horrible story of that slow disintegration ; in his very sight
the flesh appeared to take on the changing colours of decay. He
withdrew aghast from the proximity ; he blanched and was wrung
with panic. In what place within that breathing human fabric
was death starting upon his dreadful round ? She respired gently,
the heart beat softly, the tissues, yet instinct with life, were re-
builded piece by piece. Wherein lay the secret of that fading life ?
The counterpane stirred faintly, and drew his attention. His
wandering glance went down the length of that swathed body.
The limbs still beat warm with blood, and yet to-morrow they
must stretch out in stiff obedience to strange hands. The fancy
was horrible—a cry burst from him and rang in the still and
changeless chamber. The sound terrified him anew, breaking thus
rudely upon the silence. He feared that she would awake, and
he trembled at the prospect of her speechless eyes. And yet he
had withal a passionate desire to resolve her from this deathly calm,
and to see her once more regarding him with love. She hung
still upon the verge of that great darkness, and one short call
would bring her sharply back. He had but to bend to her ears
and whisper loudly, and that hovering spirit would return. He
stood, a coward, by the bed.
And now the lips in that shrunken face parted suddenly, the
bosom quickened, and the throat rattled with noises. It flashed
upon him that this at last was the article of death, and vainly he
strove to call for help ; his voice stifled in his mouth. She
should not so dissolve at least ; she should breathe freely ; he
would give her air—and, springing with an effort to the window,
he flung it back. The cool air flowed in, and, turning quickly, he
looked down upon the bed.
The eyes had fallen open, and were set upon him, full and wide.
Unnerved already as he was, the change paralysed him, and he
stood for a moment stark and motionless. The fire flared up and
lit the face with colour ; the eyes shone brightly, and he seemed
to see into their deepest corners. There was that in them
from which he recoiled at length slowly and with horror. They
fastened upon him mutely, pleading with him for mercy. They
were like the eyes of a creature hunted beyond a prospect of
defence. Dumbly they dwelt on him, as though in his presence
they had surrendered their last hope. They seemed to wait for
him, submissive to their fate, yet luminous with that despair.
He tried to speak, but the wheels of his being were without his
present rule, and he might only stand and shudder and give back
glance for glance. He looked away, but his fascinated gaze
returned again to those reproaching eyes. They did not waver ;
it was as if they dared not lose their sight of a pitiless enemy. They
recognised him as their butcher. Even through her sleep this
poor weary soul had come to understand his proximity, and had
woke up, in fright at his unseemly neighbourhood.
The lamp sputtered, a tongue of flame shot up the chimney,
and the rank smell of smoke stole through the room. Farrell
retreated to the table, and dressed the wick with trembling fingers.
The act relieved the strain, but when he turned the eyes were watch-
ing still. They bereaved him of his powers, and under the spell of
their strange and horrible attraction he sweated in cold beads.
They burned upon him from the distance, two great hollows of
light, like shining stars, holding that awful look of wistful fear.
There was no room in his mind for any sensation save the one ;
he could not think ; he had no reckoning of the time his agony
endured. But outside, at last, the bell of a clock-tower boomed
far away and some hour was struck. And suddenly it seemed
to him that the lustre of those great eyes grew dimmer ; the look
of sad expectation died slowly away. They stared with a kinder
light. It was his fancy, perhaps, but at least it seemed that
no strange creature now regarded him with unfamiliar terror, but
his own dear Letty watched him again with soft affectionate eyes.
His limbs grew laxer under him, and, with a little sob of relief,
he stole forward, an uncertain smile of greeting growing round his
” Letty ” he whispered, ” my darling, are you better ? “
He drew near the bed, and put out his arm eagerly and
gently ; but in an instant a start rose quickly in her face, the
eyes kindled with a horrible look of panic, and with a faint
repulsive gesture of the hands she shrank deeper into the wrap-
pings. A little sigh followed ; the limbs fell slowly back, and
the eyes, with their dreadful terror, stared vacantly into Farrell’s
The coverlet went on rustling as the bed-clothes settled down.
By Dolf Wyllarde
BEFORE the night come, and the day expire,
The blossoms redden with the sun’s desire—
Only the passion-flowers are colourless,
Burnt up and wasted with their own excess,
And tinted like the ashes of their fire.
Look down and see the reddest rose aspire
To touch your hand—he climbs the trellis-wire,
Burning to reach your indolent caress,
Before the night.
Ah, Love, be wise ! for all too soon we tire,
When once the longed-for guerdon we acquire.
The wonder that we think not to possess,
Once in our keeping, holds us less and less.
Nay—let us love, nor all too much inquire,
Before the night.
During the night I felt you breathing deep
Against my heart—and yet I did not weep
With perfect passion !—fearing only this,
One golden moment of the night to miss—
The sacred night that was not made for sleep !
The stairs of life stretch upward, dim and steep,
Midway between a grief and joy I creep—
But let us just for once have tasted bliss,
During the night.
Strained to my breast I felt your pulses leap,
And this is the remembrance I shall keep
When all the serpents of oblivion hiss—
Of two who only clung too close to kiss.
We sowed in love—in passion do we reap,
During the night.
After the night Love wearied of his powers,
He fell asleep among the passion-flowers.
I felt the darkness solemnly withdrawn.
A dewy whiteness glimmered on the lawn,
Day weeping for this dear dead night of ours.
Vague, greyish lights, that first had threatened showers,
Deepened to golden, till the rosy hours
Trembled with tender passion to the dawn,
After the night.
Wan in the daylight looked our crystal towers,
Rising above the blossom-tinted bowers.
The world looked strangely on us in the morn.
Love shuddered in his sleep as one forsworn—
Poor Love ! who trembles at himself, and cowers,
After the night.
WHEN I first saw Wladislaw he was sitting on a high
tabouret near a hot iron sheet that partially surrounded
the tall coke stove ; the arches of his feet were curved over the
top bar, toes and heels both bent down, suggestive of a bird
clasping its perch. This position brought the shiny knees of his
old blue serge trousers close up to his chest—for he was bending
far forward towards his easel—and the charcoal dust on the knee
over which he occasionally sharpened his fusain was making a
dull smear upon the grey flannel shirt which his half-opened
He wore no coat : it was hanging on the edge of the iron
screen, and his right shirt-sleeve, rolled up for freedom in his
work, left a strong, rather smooth arm bare.
He always chose a corner near the stove ; the coke fumes never
gave him a headache, it seemed. It was supposed that he felt the
cold of Paris severely ; but this can hardly have been the case,
considering the toughening winters of his youth away in Poland
there. My observation led me to believe that the proximity was
courted on account of the facilities it afforded for lighting his
cigarette. When he rolled a new one and had returned the flat,
shabby, red leather case to a pocket, he would get up, open the
stove door and pick up a piece of coke—one whose lower half was
scarlet and its upper still black—between his finger and thumb,
and, holding it calmly to the cigarette, suck in a light with a
single inhalation, tossing the coke to its place and re-seating him-
self upon his tabouret, completely unaware of the amused pairs of
eyes that watched quizzically to see his brow pucker if he burnt
Wladislaw was his first name ; naturally he had another by
which he was generally known, but it is useless to record a
second set of Polish syllables for the reader to struggle with, so I
leave it alone. His first name is pronounced Vladislav as nearly
as one may write it ; and this is to be remembered, for I prefer
to retain the correct spelling. He had been working quite a
fortnight in the studio before the day when I strolled in and
noticed him, and I do not think that up till then any one had the
excitement of his acquaintance.
One or two sketch-books contained hasty and furtive pencil
splashes which essayed the picturesqueness of his features ; but he
was notably shy, and if he observed any one to be regarding him
with the unmistakable measuring eye of the sketcher, he would
frown and dip behind the canvas on his easel with the silly
sensitiveness of a dabchick. At the dingy crèmerie where he ate
herrings marinés—chiefly with a knife—the curious glances of
other déjeuneurs annoyed him extremely ; which was absurd, of
course, for as a rule no artist objects to being made the victim of a
brother’s brush. He would colour—I was going to write, like a
girl, but why not like the boy that he was ?—when the lively
Louise, who changed the plates, or swept the knife and fork of
such as did not know the habits of the place back on the crumby
The Yellow Book— Vol. IV. F
marble table with a ” V’lá M’sieu,” sent a smile accurately
darted into his long eyes. He didn’t know how to respond to
Louise, or any other glances of the same sort in those days ; but if
I am encouraged to tell further of him, I can give the history of
his initiation, for I am bold to say none knows it better—unless
it be Louise herself.
What puzzled me about his face, which was a beautiful one, of
the pure and refined Hebrew type so rarely met with— the type
that was a little commoner, let us hope, in the days when God
singled out His People—what puzzled me about it was that it
should seem so familiar to me, for, as I say, the type is seldom
found. When I came upon Wladislaw, hurrying down the
street to the studio with the swiftness of a polecat—no sort of
joke intended—it would flash upon me that surely I knew the
face, yet not as one feels when one has met some one in a train
or sat near him in a tramcar.
The mystery of this was explained before ever I had analysed to
myself exactly how the face affected me and where I could have
seen it before. It was at the eleven o’clock rest one morning,
when the strife of tongues was let loose and I was moving among
the easels and stools, talking to the various students that I knew.
One of them, her book open, her eyes gleaming and her pencil
avid of sketches, was lending a vague ear to the model, who had
once been in England, and was describing his experiences with a
Royal Academician. They were standing near the stove, the
model, careless of the rapid alteration which the grateful heat was
effecting in his skin tones, steadily veering from the transparent
purple which had gratified an ardent impressionist all the morning,
to a dull, hot scarlet upon the fronts of his thighs. While she
was talking to the model, my friend was sketching Wladislaw,
who ranged remotely at the cold end of the room. The impres-
sionist joined the group to remonstrate in ineffectual French with
the model, and glanced into the sketch-book in passing.
” Just the church-window type, isn’t he ? ” said this flippant
person, alluding to the Pole; ” and I have seen him behind the
altar too, painted on the wall with a symmetrical arrangement of
stars in the background, and his feet on a blue air-balloon.”
The sketcher nodded, and swept in a curved line for the coat
collar just as a controlling voice announced that the rest was up.
And I wondered how I had been so dull as never to think of
it ; for it was perfectly true, and oh, so obvious now that I knew
it ! Wladislaw’s beautiful head, with the young light-brown
beard, the pure forehead, and the long sorrowful eyes, was an ideal
presentment of the Nazarene ; without the alteration of either
feature or expression, he stood up a gloriously simple realisation of
the Christ as all pictures have tried to show Him.
I was so amazed by this illumination, that I sat down beside
the disconsolate impressionist, who ” couldn’t do a thing till that
idiot cooled down,” and was ” losing half the morning—the
Professor’s morning, too,” and talked it over.
” H’m yes—he is. Hadn’t you noticed it ? I said it the very
day he came in. I wonder if he sees it himself? Do you know,
I think I could get rather a good thing of him from here ? Yes,
you wait ; I’ve nothing to do till that beastly hectic colour fades
off the model. I’m not going to bother about the background ;
I’ve painted that old green curtain till I’m tired. Get a tabouret
and sit down while I design a really good window.”
She sketched away rapidly, and I watched her as she worked.
” Funny,” she remarked, as she blocked in the figure with
admirable freedom ; ” I’ve never seen the Christ treated in profile,
have you ? It’s rather new—you watch.”
It is my regret that I did not disregard every rule and every
courtesy and snatch that sketch from her, half-finished though it
was ; but of a sudden the door opened and the Professor came in.
The impressionist, with a sour look at the model’s thighs and a
despairing consciousness that she would have to hear that her
colour was too cold, shut her book with a snap and resumed her
I had to manoeuvre cautiously a retreat to the stairway—for
idlers were publicly discouraged during the Professor’s visits—and
people who would leave off work at any minute when I dropped
in to hear the news on ordinary mornings, looked up and frowned
studiously over the creaking of my retreating boots.
It may have been about a week later that my acquaintance
with Wladislaw commenced, and again the detailing of that cir-
cumstance is to serve another purpose one of these days ; at any
rate, we came across one another in a manner which is to a friend-
ship what a glass frame is to a cucumber, and soon studio friends
came to me for news of him, and my protection of him was an
openly admitted fact. At first I had been somewhat burdened by
a consciousness of his curious beauty ; one is not often in the way
of talking to a beautiful man of any kind, but I can imagine that
classical beauty or historic beauty might be more easily sup-
ported. No particular deep would be touched by a meeting with
Apollo or Antinous ; neither awe, nor reverence, however dis-
credited and worn-out its tradition, has ever attached to them.
The counterpart of Montrose or the bonnie Earl o’ Murray,
much as one would like to meet either, would arouse only
picturesque sentimental reflection ; but to walk through the
Jardin du Luxembourg on a sunny day eating gaufres, with—and
I say it without the faintest intention of irreverence—with a
figure of the Saviour of mankind beside you, is—is arresting.
When the eye reposes unintentionally upon it in the silent
moments of conversation, it gives pause. Distinctly, it gives
pause. I have never held it an excuse for anything in art or
literature that one should turn upon a public about to scoff, to be
offended, to be frightened, and announce that ” it is true ” : that
the incident in either a picture or a story should be “true” is not
a sufficient excuse for the painting or the telling of it. But when
I insist courteously to readers of certain religious convictions that
I am not ” making up ” either my scenes, my characters, or what,
for want of a better name, shall be called my story, I am only
desirous that they shall absolve me from any desire to be irreverent
and to shock their feelings. They might remember that what is
reverent to them may not be so to me ; but I do not hope to
secure so great a concession by any means. What I would
finally point out is that the irreverence goes back further than the
mere writing down of the story ; they must accuse a greater than
I if they object to the facts of the case—they must state their
quarrel to the controlling power which designed poor Wladislaw’s
physiognomy : to use some of the phrases beloved of the very
class I am entreating, I would suggest that the boy did not
” make himself ” ; he was ” sent into the world ” like that.
I daresay—considering what I am going to relate—I daresay
wished he had not been ; he was so very shy a fellow, and it led
to his being a great deal observed and commented upon. What
encouraged me to feel at home with him in spite of his appearance
was the real youngness of his nature. He was extraordinarily
simple and—well, fluffy. For he really suggested a newly-
hatched chicken to me ; bits of the eggshell were still clinging to
his yellow down, if I may hint at the metaphor.
His cleverness was tremendously in advance of his training and
his executive powers. Some day, one could see, he was going to
paint marvellously, if he would wait and survive his failures and
forbear to cut his throat by the way. His mind was utterly and
entirely on his work ; I never heard him speak of much else ;
work and the difficulty of producing oneself, no matter with the
help of what medium, was our everyday topic. And when
desperate fits overtook us we bewailed the necessity of producing
ourselves at all. Why was it in us ? We didn’t think anything
good that we did ; we didn’t suppose we were ever going to
compass anything decent, and work was a trouble, a fever of
disappointment and stress, which we did not enjoy in the least.
The pleasure of work, we assured one another again and again,
was a pleasure we had never felt. By nature, inclination and
habit we were incorrigibly idle ; yet inside us was this spirit, this
silly, useless, hammering beast that impelled us to the handling of
pen and pencil, and made us sick and irritable and unhappy, and
prevented us taking any pleasure in our dinner.
That was how we used to talk together when we were striding
through the woods round Versailles or idling among storied tombs
in the cemetery at Montmorency ; and, dear me ! what a lot of
enjoyment we got out of it, and how good the sandwiches were
when we rested for our luncheon ! Sometimes Wladislaw talked
of his mother, whom I apprehended to be a teak-grained Calvinistic
lady with a certain resemblance to the hen who had reared a
duckling by mistake. I wish now that I had heard more stories
of that rigorous household of his youth, where the fires in winter
were let out at four in the afternoon because his mother had the
idea that one did not feel the cold so much in bed if inured to it
by a sustained chill of some eight hours’ duration. She was
probably quite right : one only wonders why she did not pursue
the principle further and light no fires in the day, because pro-
portionately, of course—— But no matter. And, indeed, there
are no proportions in the case. Once reach the superlative
frozen, and there is nothing left to feel. His third subject was the
frivolity of Paris, of which we knew everything by hearsay and
nothing by experience, so were able to discuss with a ” wet sheet
and a flowing sea,” so to speak. He hated Paris, and he hated
frivolity, even as he hated French. Our conversations, I ought
to say, were carried on in German, which we spoke with almost a
common measure of inaccuracy ; and I think that he probably
knew as little of the French language as he knew of the frivolity
I tried to encourage him to take long walks and long tours on
tramways—it should never be forgotten that you can go all over
Paris for threepence—and when his work at the studio was
sufficiently discouraging he would do so, sometimes coming with
me, sometimes going alone. We explored Montmartre together,
both by day and gas light ; we fared forth to the Abattoirs, to
the Place de la Roquette, to the Boulevard Beaumarchais and the
Boulevard Port Royal, the Temple and ” les Halles.”
But Wladislaw was alone the day he set out to inspect the Bois
de Boulogne, the Pare Monceau, the Madeleine, and the grands
I remember seeing him start. If he had been coming with me
he would have had on a tie and collar (borrowed from another
student) and his other coat ; he would, in fact, have done his best
to look ordinary, to rob himself, in his youthful pride and ignorant
vanity, of his picturesque appearance. I am sorry to say it, since
he was an artist ; but it is true—he would.
As it was, he sallied out in the grey woollen shirt, with its
low collar, the half-buttoned waistcoat, the old, blue, sloppily-
hanging coat, with one sleeve obstinately burst at the back, and
the close astrakhan cap on one side of his smooth straight hazel
hair. When I ran across him next day in the neighbourhood of
the oleander tubs that surrounded with much decorative ability
the doors of the Café Amadou, he agreed to come to my rooms
and have a cup of coffee, in order to narrate the exciting and
mysterious incident of the day before.
Sitting on each side of my stove, which was red-hot and threat-
ening to crack at any minute, Wladislaw, with cautions to me
” not to judge too soon : I should see if it had not been strange,
this that had happened to him,” told me this ridiculous story.
He had started up the Bois ; he had found the Pare Monceau ;
he had come down a big street to the Madeleine ; he had looked
in ; it had reminded him of a concert-hall, and was not at all
impressive (gar nicht imponirend) ; he had walked along the left-
hand side of the Boulevard des Capucines. It was as poor a
street as he could have imagined in a big town, the shops
wretched ; he supposed in London our shops were better ? I
assured him that in London the shops were much better ; that it
was a standing mystery to me, as to all the other English women
I knew, where the pretty things for which Paris is celebrated
were to be bought. And I implored him to tell me his adven-
Ah ! Well—now the point was reached ; now I was to hear !
One minute !—Well, he had come opposite the Café de la Paix,
and he had paused an instant to contemplate the unrelieved
commonplace ugliness of the average Frenchman as there to be
observed—and then he had pursued his way.
It was getting dusk in the winter afternoon, and when he came
through the Place de l’Opéra all the lights were lit, and he was
delighted, as who must not be, by the effect of that particular bit
of Paris ? He was just crossing the Place to go down the left-
hand side of the Avenue, when it occurred to him that he was
It here struck me that the beginning of Wladislaw’s first
adventure in Paris was highly unoriginal ; but I waited with a
tempered interest to hear how he had dealt with it. Here are his
own words, but losing much of their quaintness by being rendered
in an English which even I cannot make quite ungrammatical.
” I went on very quickly a little way, then I walked slowly,
slowly—very slow, and turned suddenly sharp round. Yes, I was
being followed : there he was, a man in a black frock coat,
” A man ? ” I blurted out, having been somehow unprepared
for this development.
“What else ? ” said Wladislaw. ” Did you think it was going
to be a cat ? ”
Well, more or less, I had fancied …. but I
” Black coat and grey trousers, black bow tie and one of those
hats, you know ? ” With his cigarette hand he made a rapid
pantomime about his head that outlined sufficiently the flat-
brimmed top hat of the artistic Frenchman, so often distinguished,
but more usually a little ridiculous.
” I went on at an ordinary pace till I came to the Rue de
Rivoli, then at that Café where the omnibus for St. Sulpice stops
I waited “—Wladislaw’s eyes were gleaming with an unwonted
mischief, and he had quite lost his Judaic majesty—” to get a
good look. There he was. A man not yet forty ; dark, interest-
ing, powerful face ; a red ribbon in his button-hole.”
” A red ribbon? ” But then I remembered that every second
Frenchman has a red ribbon.
” I thought, ‘ Shall I take him a nice walk this cold evening ?
Shall I go down and cross the river to Notre Dame, then home
up the Boulevard St. Michel ? ‘ But no, it was late. I had had
nothing to eat ; I wanted to get to the Bouillon Robert before
dinner would be over. I ran into the Bureau and got a number ;
then I watched, and the first omnibus that had room I climbed up
on the impériale and watched him try for a seat inside ! Ah, I
knew he was after me. I felt as if I had stolen something !
Then the omnibus started. He had not got a seat. When it is
already six you cannot get a seat inside, you know ? ”
I knew. ” He came up with you ? ” I said.
” On the impériale also there was no room. I lost
him, but on the Pont du Carrousel I saw a fiacre ! ”
In spite of my earlier feeling I was a little interested , more so
when Wladislaw told of his walking into a certain restaurant near
the Gare Montparnasse—a restaurant where you dine with hors
d’oeuvres and dessert at a scoured wood table for 80 centimes,
sitting down beside several ouvriers—and seeing the stranger
saunter in and take a seat at a corner table.
I feel quite incapable of rendering in English the cat-and-
mouse description of the dinner which Wladislaw gave me ; so
I come to the time when he paid his addition, and turning up his
coat collar, made his way out and up the Boulevard Montparnasse
in the ill-lighted winter night, the stranger appearing inevitably in
his wake at each gas-lamp, till the side street was reached in which
Wladislaw lived on the fourth floor of a certain number thirteen.
At his door Wladislaw, of course, paused, and looked the street up
and down without seeing his pursuer.
” But no doubt,” said my sly Pole, ” he was hiding inside a
courtyard door. And now, what do you make of that ? ”
I had to own that I made nothing of it ; and we sat and
speculated foolishly for fully half an hour, till we tired of the effort
and returned to our equally vapid haverings about ” work ” and
our common difficulties.
Four days later—I had meantime confided the story to no
four days later Wladislaw approached me mysteriously from
behind as I was returning one morning from a visit to the Rue
de la Gaieté, with a bunch of onions, half a loaf of black bread,
and two turkey-thighs in a string bag.
I knew from the set of his cap that something unusual had
happened ; and besides, it was the hour at which he should have
been scraping at his fusain in the men’s studio. He put a letter
in my hand.
” You will say nothing to anybody? I want you to translate
it. I can’t understand it all. But you will tell no one ? ”
I responded with an eager denial and the question as to who
there could be for me to tell.
He seemed to overlook the half-hundred of students we both
knew, as readily as I did ; and we opened the letter.
This was it :
” Monsieur,—My name may perhaps be a sufficient assurance to you
that my unusual conduct of the other evening in discovering for
myself your residence and profession had no unworthy motive. The
explanation is simple. I am painting a large canvas, to be called
‘ The Temptation. ‘ I cannot proceed for want of a model for my
Christ. When my eyes fell upon you, I realised instantly that yours
was the only face in the world that could satisfy my aspiration. It
was impossible for me not to follow you, at the risk of any and every
misunderstanding. I beg you to receive my complete apologies.
Will you sit to me ? I appeal to you as a brother of the brush—
permit me to leave behind me the most perfect Christ-face that has
ever been conceived. Times and terms shall be as you will.
” Accept, Monsieur and colleague, the assurance of my most
I looked at it, laughing and gasping. I repeated some of the
sounding phrases. So this artist—well I knew his name at the
Mirlitons—this genius of the small red fleck had pursued Wladis-
law for miles on foot and in fiacre, had submitted himself and his
digestion to an 80-centime dinner of blatant horse-flesh, had tracked
the student to his lodgings, got his style and title from Madame in
the rez-de-chaussée, and finally written him this letter to ask—to
implore, rather, that Wladislaw should be the model for his con-
templated picture of the Redeemer ! It was really interesting
enough ; but what struck me as curious was that Dufour of the
tulle skirt and tarlatan celebrity—the portraitist of the filles de joie
—should conceive it possible to add to his reputation by painting
the Man of Sorrows.
It will have been gathered that Wladislaw was poor ; just how
poor, I think no one among us ever knew. He would sit all the
evening long without a fire, and his habit of keeping a large piece
of bread in a coat pocket and breaking bits off to nibble during
the morning or afternoon’s work very naturally gave rise to a
legend that he lived upon bread alone.
I, for one, would sooner believe that to have been the case than
have credited for a moment the story of the student who claimed
to have noticed a heap of fish heads and tails in a corner of his
room, the disagreeable residue of a small barrel of raw dried
herring which he had kept by him.
I suppose that he paid his classes and boarding charges out of
money sent at intervals from home, like any other student ; but
the final outward evidence of any shortness in cash was the colour
of the packet in which he bought his tobacco. A careful observer
might have accurately dated the arrival of his funds by noting the
orange paper which inclosed his ” Levant Supérieur.” Then, as
it behoved him to be careful, the canary yellow of the cheaper
” Levant ” ; and finally the sign manual of approaching destitu-
tion in the common brown wrapper of his ” Caporal.” I am
inclined to say that I noticed his leisurely but inevitable descent
of these pecuniary steps every month.
Further, if moderately affluent, he would indulge in five sous’
worth of roasted chestnuts whenever we went out together, and
only on one occasion did it occur to me to provide him with a
tram fare. Despite this poverty, I am very sure that when he
arranged ultimately, at my instance, to sit to Monsieur Dufour
for his picture of ” Christ led up into the Wilderness to be
tempted of the Devil,” Wladislaw was very far from thinking of
The fact was, he had differed rather pointedly with a big
Russian at the evening class, a man preternaturally irritable
because eternally afflicted by the toothache ; there had been
words, the Russian had announced his intention of throwing the
Pole from the top of the stairs, and being a taller, more muscular
fellow, had picked him up and carried him to the door, when
Wladislaw wriggled dexterously from his grasp, and jerked him
down no fewer than eleven steps upon his spine. He described to me
afterwards with less truth than artistic sympathy the neat bobbing
sound as each individual vertebra knocked upon the wooden
This incident, and the fact that the Russian had taken an oath
in public to pay his defeat a round dozen of times, served to cool
Wladislaw’s interest in the evening class. He told me also that
the light tried his eyes ; and he would come up in the morning
with a fine vermilion point in their corners, the result, as I
insisted, of his dipping locks of hair.
With a choice of reasons for his coming, I was yet surprised
when he came, late one evening, and having whistled the opening
bars of Chopin’s ” Dirge of Poland ” below my seventh-floor
window, decoyed me to the roadway, and described his first visit
to the studio of Dufour in the Rue de Vaugirard.
Out of mere curiosity we had wandered to the number, one
afternoon after the reception of the letter ; and I well remembered
the living stench of the impasse, the dead trails of an enterprising
Virginia creeper, the broken mass of plaster casts which suffi-
ciently located a young sculptor near at hand, and the cracked
Moorish lamp which lay upon its side in the half-choked drain.
All we had seen of the studio’s furnishings was the silk-threaded
back of a magnificent curtain which blocked an upper square of
lights ; but I knew that inside all must be on a much greater
scale of artistic beauty than the queer, draughty barns of art-
student friends, where I often juggled with a cup of tea—tea
produced from a corner shrouded modestly in the green canvas
covering of a French waggon and the dusty, bellying folds of a
brown fishing-net. I was now to hear from Wladislaw what the
interior was really like ; how the great Dufour appeared when
seen from the front instead of the rear, so to say, and upon what
terms the negotiations were begun.
A certain indecisiveness in Wladislaw’s painting was reflected
in his conversation : he never could describe anything. Perhaps
this is to do him an injustice ; I would rather say that he had no
idea of giving a detailed description. By whiles you might get a
flash equivalent to one of his illuminative brush-strokes, which
was very certain to be an unsurpassable appreciation of the fact or
the circumstances ; but bid him begin at the beginning and go
coolly to the end, and you had him useless, flurried, monosyllabic
I had early learned this ; so I stood pretty patiently, although
in thin slippers, on our half-made road, a red clay slough by reason
of much carting, and listened to half-intelligible fragments of bad
German, from which I gleaned quite a good deal that I wanted to
know. First of all, it seemed the studio had another door ; one
we had never seen : you made your way round the back of the
sculptor’s white powdery habitation, and discovered yourself
opposite a little annexe where the artist kept his untidier
properties, and the glass and china which served for any little
refreshment he might be disposed to take in working hours. The
door here had been opened by an untidy, half-dressed French-
woman, with her boots unbuttoned and a good deal of cigarette ash
upon her high-braced bust ; she appeared unaware of Wladislaw’s
arrival, for she came to the door to empty something, and he nearly
received the contents of a small enamelled tin thing in his face.
A moment later, much shaken by the off-hand insolence of her
remarks, he penetrated to the presence of Dufour himself, and
was agreeably soothed by the painter’s reception of him. Of
Dufour’s manner and remarks, or the appearance of his workshop,
I could get no idea. He had a canvas, twelve feet by nine, upon
an easel, and it seems he made a rapid croquis of his picture upon a
smaller upright, and had a few masterly skirmishes with the fusain
for the position of his Christ’s head, begging the model to walk
naturally up and down the studio, so as to expose unconsciously
various attitudes of face.
During these saunterings Wladislaw should have come by some
idea of his surroundings ; but he was continually harassed and
distracted by the movements of the woman in the unbuttoned
boots, and seemed to have observed very little.
Upon a high point of an easel was hung a crown of thorns,
and beside this leaned a reed ; but Dufour explained that he had
abandoned that more conventional incident in favour of the
Temptation in the Wilderness, and explained at some length the
treatment that he contemplated of the said Temptation. No-
thing, of course, was to be as it had ever been before ; the
searching light of modern thought, of modern realism, was to be
let in upon this old illustration, from which time had worn the
sharpness long ago.
” They must feel it ; it must come right down to them—to
their lives ; they must find it in their path as they walk—
irrefutable, terrible—and the experience of any one of them ! “
Dufour had said. ” And for that, contrast ! You have here the
simplicity of the figure ; the man, white, assured, tense, un-
assailable. Then, here and there, around and above, the thousand
soft presentments of temptation. And these, though imaginatively
treated, are to be real—real. He was a man ; they say He had a
man’s temptations ; but where do we really hear of them ? You
will see them in my picture ; all that has ever come to you or
me is to be there. Etherealised, lofty, deified, but . . . our
” And you see what a subject ? The advantages, the oppor-
tunities ? The melting of the two methods ? The plein air for
the figure, and all that Art has ever known or imagined outside
this world—everything a painter’s brain has ever seen in dreams—
for the surroundings. Is it to be great ? Is it to be final ? Ah,
you shall see ! And yours is the face of all the world for it. You
are a re-incarnation. One moment so. I must have the head
trois quarts with the chin raised.”
Dufour talked himself to perspiration, so Wladislaw said, and
even I at third hand was warmed and elated.
Surely it was a striking achievement. I don’t think it occurred
to me then to reflect how large a practice Dufour had had with
the ” temptations ” realistically treated ; certainly he had a name
for the painting of them which no one could outdo ; and if his
new departure from the direction of gas and limelight to plein air
went well, there was everything to hope.
” And when are you to go again ? ” I asked, as I scraped the
clay from my slippers on the wide door mat in our draughty
” Not for three days ; he goes out of town, to Nancy. On
Sunday night I go again, and am to pose in costume. He is to
have me after, every night for a week, while he draws only, to
choose his exact position ; after that, I have to give up some day-
light ; but it won’t matter, for I can join the evening class
again for black and white. I have often thought of it, and
” And you don’t think it is going to tire you horribly—stand-
ing and not saying anything ?”
” Tire ? Nothing could tire me. I could pose on one leg for
him like a stork, for hours at a time, and never complain.”
” I don’t think it likely that a position of that kind——”
began ; but he struck in :
” But not if that woman is about. She makes me nervous.
You should see her hands : they are all white and swollen. When
I ran a thorn in my thumb and it swelled, it went like that—all
dead and cooked-looking.”
” Don’t! ” I shouted. ” Of course she won’t be there. It
isn’t likely he would have a servant about when he worked.”
” She isn’t a servant ; she called him ‘ Toni, ‘ and she took
” She was a model,” I said ; and Wladislaw, who was so head-
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. G
long because so very young, heard the note of finality in my voice,
and looking puzzled but complaisant, reserved further comment
on the woman in the unbuttoned boots.
All that follows this, I am unable to tell in Wladislaw’s own
words ; the facts were not given me at one, nor yet at two
recitals—they were piled heterogeneously in my mind, just as he
told them at odd moments in the months that followed ; and that
they have arranged themselves with some sort of order is to be
accounted for first of all by their dramatic nature, and secondly by
the inherent habit of my memory, which often straightens and
adjusts, although unbidden, all that is thrown into it, so that I may
take things out neatly as I would have them : thus one may pick
articles, ordered in one’s absence, from the top left-hand drawer in
a dressing table.
At half-past eight upon the Sunday it was a very black night
indeed in the Rue de Vaugirard. Wladislaw had well-nigh fallen
prone over the broken Moorish lamp, now frozen firmly in the
gutter which was the centre of the impasse ; he had made his way
round by the sculptor’s studio, found the door unlocked, and being
of a simple, unquestioning temperament, had strolled into the
untidy, remote little annexe which communicated by a boarded
passage with the handsome atelier.
A small tin lamp of the kind a concierge usually carries, glass-
less, flaming at a cotton wick with alcoöl à brûler, was withstand-
ing an intermittent buffeting by a wind which knew the best hole
in the window to come in at. Wladislaw nearly lost half of his
long light-brown moustache by lighting his cigarette at it in a
It was cold, and he had to undress to his skin ; the comfort of
a cigarette was not to be denied. Also he was late for his
appointment, and this annoyed him. He picked up the lamp
when he had taken coat and cap off, and searched for the costume
he was to wear.
A row of pegs upon the wall offered encouragement. With a
certain awkwardness, which was the result of his shyness of touch-
ing unfamiliar garments, he knocked down two hats—women’s
hats : one a great scooped thing with red roses below the rim ;
the other like a dish, with green locusts, horribly lifelike (and no
wonder, since they were the real insects), crawling over it. He
hastily replaced these, and took up a white thing on another nail,
which might have been the scant robe he was to wear.
It was a fine and soft to his hand ; it exhaled an ineffable
perfume of a sort of sweetness which belonged to no three-franc
bottle, and had loose lace upon it and ribbons. He dropped this
upon the ground, thinking shudderingly of the woman in the
unbuttoned boots. At last he came upon the garment he was to
wear ; it seemed to him that he knew it at once when he touched
it ; it was of a thick, coarse, resistant woollen fabric, perhaps
mohair, with a dull shine in the rather unwilling folds ; there was
very little stuff in it—just a narrow, poor garment, and of course
white ; wool-white. Wladislaw wondered vaguely where Dufour
could have come by this wonderfully archaic material, ascetic
even to the touch. Then he sat down upon a small disused stove
and took off his boots and socks. Still hanging upon the nail was
a rope cord, frayed rather, and of hemp, hand-twisted. That was
the whole costume : the robe and the cord.
He was out of his shirt and ready to put on the Hebrew dress,
when he was arrested again by some half-thought in his mind,
and stood looking at it as it lay thrown across a heap of dusty
toiles. It seemed so supremely real a thing—just what The Man
must have worn ; he could imagine the old story more nearly
than ever he had done before.
He could see Him, His robes of red or purple laid aside, clothed
only in the white under-garment ; the beautiful purity, the
unimpeachable holiness of Him only the greater to see ; young,
perfect, without sin or soil ; the veritable ” Jesus led up of the
Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.”
And he himself, Wladislaw, was the true image of that grand
figure as He has come down through all the histories to the eyes
of an indifferent world.
When he lifted his hand to his head, bewildered and held by it,
the old blue trousers fell to the ground, and he stood there naked
in the cold, taking his mind back along the familiar lines of the
wonderful story, entering into the feelings of that Jew-Man who
was persecuted ; who, whether man or God, lived the noblest life,
left the finest example—who walks to-day, as He did then, beside
the few who may be called His disciples.
A blast that caught the little lamp full in its foul, yellow
flame-tongue, left Wladislaw in the dark. He felt about for
matches ; perhaps no act could have so certainly restored him to
this world, from which his thoughts had wandered. He found
none anywhere. His straying hand came upon the garment ; he
caught it up and slipped it over his head, half horrified to feel that
it came below his collar-bone in the neck, and left his arms with
only half-a-dozen inches of sleeve.
Matches were lurking in his trousers pocket, and he had the
sulphury splutter going in a moment and the lamp re-lit.
Turning to place it in a quieter corner, he faced a dusty square
of looking-glass, unframed, such as painters usually have, its edges
sunk into the dusty wall ; he had quite a surprise to see himself.
More than half fascinated, he made a swift arrangement of his
hair, smoothed the soft flow of his moustache and beard, knotted
the rope cord round his waist, and stood there only a second or
two longer. Then, nerved by the startling simplicity, the con-
vincing faithfulness of his whole appearanee, he opened the door
and went down the passage to the studio, frowning and stepping
gingerly on the cold boards.
The curious murmur of sounds that struck his ear ; voices, the
music of glasses and silver, the slap, as it might have been a hand
upon a cheek, and the vagrant notes of some untuned musical
instrument—these all he barely noticed, or supposed they came
from the sculptor’s adjacent studio.
He opened the doorand brushed aside the dark portière that screened
out draughts ; he stepped into the studio, into a hot, overcharged air,
thick with the flat smell of poured wines and fruit rind, coloured
with smoke, poisoned with scent, ringing harshly to voices—an air
that of itself, and if he had seen nothing, would have nauseated him.
He saw dimly, confusedly ; orange and yellow blobs of light
seemed to be swinging behind grey-blue mists that rolled and
eddied round the heads of people so wild, he did not know if he
looked at a dream-picture, a picture in a bad dream. If he made
another step or two and stood, his arms straight at his sides, his
head up, his long eyes glaring beneath drawn perplexed brows, he
did not know it. There was a sudden pause, as though by a
chemical process the air had been purged of sounds. Then a
confused yell burst from among the smoke clouds, mixed with
the harsh scrape of chairs shot back upon the floor ; that, too,
ceased, and out of the frozen horror of those halted people,
some incoherent, hysteric whimpering broke out, and a few faint
At a table heaped with the débris of a careless feast he saw
Dufour, his coat off, his waistcoat and shirt unbuttoned, his head
rolled weakly back upon the gilded wood-scroll of his Louis
Quinze chair : his face flushed and swollen, strangely broadened,
coarsened and undone, with sick, loose expressions rolling over it
as shallow water rolls above a stone ; he had in his hands an old
lute, a studio property, from which he had been picking poor
detached, discordant notes.
There were other men, with wild arrested merriment in their
faces, the merriment of licence. Mixed among them, tangling
like the serpents and reptiles in an allegorical picture, were women
of whom the drapery or the bareness seemed indifferently lewd.
One had fainted with a glass at her lips, and the splash of
spilled liquor was on her neck and dripping from her chin. No
one heeded her.
Another had dashed her head upon the table, her hands were
clutched in her hair, shaking with a palsy of terror ; and from her
arose the sobs which were no more than the dull moaning of a
beast in labour.
One other, in a dress all Paris would have recognised as being
the orange ballet-muslins in which Dufour had painted his
celebrated ” Coquelicot,” was lying with long white arms spread
on the back of a chair ; above her low black satin bodice the
waves of her dead-white breast were heaving convulsively ; her
red hair blazed from under the live fantastic orange-poppy horns
that spread out from her head ; her clever, common little face was
twitching to recover a vinous courage, the black eyes were blinking,
the crooked lines of her mouth—more fascinating than any
fancied bow-curve—were moving in irresponsible striving to open
on one side, as they had a habit of doing, and let out some daring
All that they saw, these miserable revellers, was the white
figure of the Christ standing in the chastened light at the far end
of the studio. There had been a slight rattling sound—a curtain
had been drawn, and then the beautiful form had stepped out and
stood before them—the very type of manhood Christ had chosen,
if pictures may be trusted, when He came to this earth : the pure
forehead, the patient sorrowful eyes, reproach in the expression of
the eyebrows and the mouth, the young beard and brown soft
hair—in a word, the Nazarene.
When Dufour raised a wavering arm, and with a smile of
drunken intelligence exclaimed, ” Ah, c’est mon Jésus-Christ !
Bonsoir, monsieur ! ” a renewed shiver of apprehension went
round among the madly frightened people. Then he rose,
throwing off a cowering woman, staggering a little, holding to
his chair, and turned to address to his guests a mock speech
of introduction :
” Mesdames et Messieurs, je vous présente mon modèle, l’excel-
lent Ladislas ! ”
When he had declaimed thus, rising superior to a thickened
stammer, ” La Coquelicotte,” as the orange lady had at once been
named, bounded from her chair with a scream. It was the signal
for a lightning change of emotion : the hysterics rose to an aban-
doned shout of uncontrollable laughter ; the moaning woman raised
her head ; the men banged the table and exclaimed according to
their mood. One caught a handful of green stuff from a vase
that had already been knocked over, and dashed them to the
ground in front of the rock-still white figure. The dark-haired
woman—Wladislaw had not recognised her, and she wore
shoes this time—laid her swollen hand upon Dufour’s shoulder
and cried harshly, ” Va, Toni ! Monsieur a besoin d’un
âne ! ”
More screams greeted this pleasantry, and ” La Coquelicotte “
flew towards the figure with a pas de cancan ; one
round his neck like a lasso.
Then his frozen quiet left him ; there was a sort of fight
An oath in his own tongue burst from him, but she twisted
her fingers below his arms and dragged him towards the table,
meeting every effort at resistance with a kiss. His head swam as
he saw her face come close to him, its crooked mouth open, and
the blank in her line of even teeth which was supposed to be a
charm ; her coarse hair seemed to singe his neck as it brushed
upon him, and in a moment he was pushed into a chair at the
table and received a handful of red rose-petals in his face from a
Dufour was murmuring some apologies about forgetting the
appointment. He had been away ; had come back in time for
this supper, long arranged—a farewell to his old manner and his
old loves ; but Wladislaw barely listened. When ” La Coqueli-
cotte ” sat upon his knee, he threatened to strike her, and then
bethought him with shame that she was a woman.
He took a glass that was pushed to him, and drank to steady
himself. It was Chartreuse they had given him—Chartreuse,
more deadly and more insidious than pure spirit—and in a very
little while his head failed him, and he remembered nothing after.
Perhaps it was as well. The wild laughter and indecent jokes
surged up hotter than before ; every one strove to forget the stun
of that terrible moment, when, at the jarring scrape of the curtain-
rings upon their rod, the white figure of the Christ had interrupted
them ; when it had seemed, indeed, that the last day had come,
that judgment and retribution, harsher than all hell to those taken
in their sinning, had fallen on them as they shrieked and howled
like human swine amid the refuse of their feast.
That was a moment they never forgot. It carried no lesson,
it gave no warning, it altered nothing, and was of no use ; but it
frightened them, and they were not strong enough to wipe out its
There is perhaps a moral in Wladislaw’s story ; if so, I have
has no thought to write it. Certainly the world has turned and
made mock, like those men and women, at the Christ-figure ; and
as I write I find myself wondering about the great promise which
is still the Hope of some.
When He comes, if He is to come, will it be upon some such
scene that He will choose to enter ?
The Waking of Spring
By Olive Custance
SPIRIT of Spring, thy coverlet of snow
Hath fallen from thee, with its fringe of frost,
And where the river late did overflow
Sway fragile white anemones, wind-tost,
And in the woods stand snowdrops, half asleep,
With drooping heads—sweet dreamers so long lost.
Spirit, arise ! for crimson flushes creep
Into the cold grey east, where clouds assemble
To meet the sun : and earth hath ceased to weep.
Her tears tip every blade of grass, and tremble,
Caught in the cup of every flower. O Spring !
I see thee spread thy pinions, they resemble
Large delicate leaves, all silver-veined, that fling
Frail floating shadows on the forest sward ;
And all the birds about thee build and sing !
Blithe stranger from the gardens of our God,
We welcome thee, for one is at thy side
Whose voice is thrilling music, Love, thy Lord,
Whose tender glances stir thy soul, whose wide
Wings wave above thee, thou awakened bride !
Mr. Stevenson’s Forerunner
FOR a long time—I can hardly give a number to its years—I
have been haunted by a spectre of duty. Of late the visita-
tions of the haunter have recurred with increasing frequency and
added persistence of appeal ; and though, like Hamlet, I have long
dallied with the ghostly behest, like him I am at last compelled to
obedience. Ghosts, I believe, have a habit of putting themselves
in evidence for the purpose of demanding justice, and my ghost
makes no display of originality : in this respect he follows the
time-honoured example of his tribe, and if peace of mind is to
return to me the exorcism of compliance must needs be uttered.
Emerson in one of his gnomic couplets proclaims his conviction
” One accent of the Holy Ghost
This heedful world hath never lost “—
a saying which, shorn of its imaginative wings and turned into a
pedestrian colloquialism, reads something like this—” What de-
serves to live the world will not let die.” It is a comforting
belief yet there are times when Tennyson’s vision of the ” fifty
seeds,” out of which Nature ” often brings but one to bear,”
seems nearer to the common truth of things ; and all the world’s
heedfulness will not exclude Oblivion with her poppies from some
spot which should have been sacred to Fame with her amaranth
and asphodel. Still there will always be those who will stretch out
a hand to repel or evict the intruder—even as in Mr. Watts’s
noble allegory Love would bar the door against Death—and I
would fain play my little part in one not inglorious eviction.
I want to write of a wholly-forgotten prose-man (forgotten,
that is, by all save a solitary enthusiast here and there), but I
must first speak of a half-forgotten singer. Only people who are
on the shady side of middle-age can remember the intense
enthusiasm excited by the first work of the young Glasgow poet,
Alexander Smith. He had been discovered by that mighty hunter
of new poets, the Rev. George Gilfillan ; and in the columns of
Mr. Gilfillan’s journal The Critic had been published a number of
verses which whetted the appetite of connoisseurs in the early
fifties for the maiden volume of a bard who, it was broadly hinted,
might be expected to cast Keats into shadow. The prediction
was a daring one ; but the fifties, like the nineties, were a hey-day
of new reputations ; and when that brilliant though somewhat
amorphous work, A Life Drama, saw the light, a good many
people, not wholly indiscriminating, were more than half inclined
to think that it had been fulfilled. The performance of the new
poet, taken as a whole, might be emotionally crude and intel-
lectually ineffective, but its affluence in the matter of striking
imagery was amazing, and the critical literature of the day was
peppered with quotations of Alexander Smith’s ” fine passages.”
Very few people open A Life Drama now, though much time is
spent over books that are a great deal poorer ; but if any reader,
curious to know what kind of thing roused the admiration of
connoisseurs in the years 1853-4, will spend an hour over the
volume, he will come to the conclusion that it is a very remarkable
specimen of what may be called the decorated style of poetic
” An opulent soul
Dropt in my path like a great cup of gold,
All rich and rough with stories of the gods.”
” The sun is dying like a cloven king
In his own blood ; the while the distant moon,
Like a pale prophetess that he has wronged,
Leans eager forward with most hungry eyes
Watching him bleed to death, and, as he faints,
She brightens and dilates ; revenge complete
She walks in lonely triumph through the night.”
” My drooping sails
Flap idly ‘gainst the mast of my intent ;
I rot upon the waters when my prow
Should grate the golden isles.”
” The bridegroom sea
Is toying with the shore, his wedded bride,
And, in the fulness of his marriage joy,
He decorates her tawny brow with shells,
Retires a space to see how fair she looks,
Then, proud, runs up to kiss her.”
These and such things as these were what the admiring critics
loved to quote, and that they were indeed ” fine passages ” could not
be denied even by people whose tastes were for something a little
less gaudy. What was denied by those who were able to preserve
some calmness of judgment amid the storm of enthusiasm was
that this kind of fineness was the kind that goes to the making
of great poetry. The special fine things were ingenious, striking,
and sometimes beautiful conceits ; they were notable tours de
of poetic fancy ; but they bore little if any witness to that illumi-
nating revealing imagination of which great poetry is all compact.
The young writer’s images were happy discoveries of external and
accidental resemblances ; not revelations of inherent and inter-
pretative affinity. Howsoever graceful and pretty in its way were
the figure which likened the sea and the shore to a bridegroom
and his bride, it gave no new insight into the daily mystery of the
swelling and ebbing tide—no such hint of a fine correspondence
between the things of sense and of spirit as is given in the really
imaginative utterance of Whitman :
” Surely whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him or her I shall
As the water follows the moon silently with fluid steps anywhere
around the globe.”
What was most characteristic therefore in the verse of Alex-
ander Smith was a winning or arresting quality of fancy; and, in
poetry, fancy, though not to be despised, exercises a subordinate
sway—” she is the second, not the first.” It may be that Smith
came to see this : it is more probable that he came to feel it, as a
man feels many things which he does not formulate in a clearly
outlined thought : at any rate, after the publication of Edwin of
Deira, his third volume of verse, he ceased almost entirely from
song, and chose as his favourite vehicle of expression a literary form
in which his special gift counted for more, and carried greater
weight of value, than it could ever count or carry in the poems
by which he first caught the world’s ear.
And yet, curiously enough, while Smith’s reputation as a poet
still lingers in a faint after-glow, the essays in which he expressed
himself with so much more of adequacy and charm cannot be said
to have won fame at all. They have had from the first their
little circle of ardent admirers, but it has never widened ; its
circumference has never touched, never even approximated to,
the circumference of that larger circle which includes all lovers of
letters. To be unacquainted with Lamb or Hunt, Hazlitt or
De Quincey, would be recognised as a regrettable limitation of
any man’s knowledge of English literature : non-acquaintance
with Alexander Smith as a writer of prose is felt to be one of
those necessary ignorances that can hardly be lamented because
they are rendered inevitable by the shortness of life and the
multiplicity of contending appeals. The fact that Smith as a
poet achieved little more than a succès d’estime may have pre-
judiced his reputation as an essayist ; but whatever theory be
constructed to account for it, recent literary history presents no
more curious instance of utter refusal to really admirable work of
deserved recognition and far-reaching fame.
For it must be noted and insisted upon that the essays of
Alexander Smith are no mere caviare literature. They have
neither the matter nor the manner of coterie performance—the
kind of performance which appeals to an acquired sense, and gives
to its admirer a certain pleasing consciousness of aloofness from
the herd. He is in the true line of descent from the great pre-
decessors just named ; and as they were his lineal forerunners, so
are Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson and Mr. Richard Le Gallienne
his lineal descendants. Indeed the name of Mr. Stevenson
suggests, or rather re-suggests, a thought which is more or less
familiar to most of us—that in the world of letters there are
seasons uncongenial to certain growths of fame which in another
spring and autumn might have blossomed and borne much fruit.
Only by some such consideration is it possible to account for the
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. H
curious fact that while Virginibus Puerisque and Men and Books
found their audience at once, Dreamthorp and Last Leaves are
still so largely unknown, and can now only be procured by diligent
search of the catalogues of the second-hand booksellers. The
fact is all the more curious because Alexander Smith may be
roughly described as a Stevenson born out of due time. Roughly,
of course, for the individuality of thinking and utterance which
is so important in all pure literature is, in the essay, not only
important but essential—the one thing needful, apart from which
all other things are, comparatively speaking, of no account ; and
in both Smith’s work and Mr. Stevenson’s the note of personality
always rings clear and true.
Their essays are what the essay in its purest form always tends
to be—the prose analogue of the song of self-expression, with its
explicit or implicit autobiography, that touches us as we are
never touched by external splendours of epic or drama. In Mon-
taigne, the father of the essay, the personal confession has an
almost boyish incontinence of frankness : in Smith, as in all the
modern men, it has more of reticence and reserve, but it is there
all the time ; and even when the thought seems most abstract
and impersonal the manner of its utterance has not the coldness
of disquisition, but the warmth of colloquy. We learn something
of the secret of this quality of the work from a few sentences in
which Smith discourses of his favourite craft and of his fellow-
craftsmen. Just as two or three of our best sonneteers—Words-
worth and Rossetti to wit—have written admirable sonnets in
celebration of the sonnet, so Alexander Smith is seldom seen to
greater advantage than in the pages where he magnifies his office
and makes himself the essayist of the essay.
” The essay, as a literary form, resembles the lyric, in so far as it
is moulded by some central mood—whimsical, serious, or
Give the mood, and the essay, from the first sentence to the last, grows
around it as the cocoon grows around the silkworm. . . . The essayist
is a kind of poet in prose, and if harshly questioned as to his uses, he
might be unable to render a better apology for his existence than a
flower might. The essay should be pure literature, as the poem is
pure literature. The essayist wears a lance, but he cares more for the
sharpness of its point than for the pennon that flutters upon it, than
for the banner of the captain under whom he serves. He plays with
death as Hamlet played with Yorick’s skull, and he reads the morals—
strangely stern, often, for such fragrant lodging—which are folded up
in the bosoms of roses. He has no pride, and is deficient in a sense
of the congruity and fitness of things. He lifts a pebble from the
ground, and puts it aside more carefully than any gem ; and on a nail
in a cottage door he will hang the mantle of his thought, heavily
brocaded with the gold of rhetoric.”
It may be remarked in parenthesis that the above sentences
were published in 1863, and they provide what is probably the first
statement by an English writer with any repute of the famous
doctrine ” Art for art’s sake ” to which Smith seems to have
worked his own way without the prompting of Gallican sugges-
tion. Indeed, even in 1869, when Mr. Patrick Proctor
Alexander edited Smith’s posthumous volume, Last Leaves, he
remarked in his introduction that he had thought of excluding
the essay entitled ” Literary Work,” in which the same doctrine
was more elaborately advocated, apparently on the ground that it
was a new heresy which might expose Smith to the pains and
penalties of literary excommunication. How curious it seems.
In ten years the essay which Mr. Alexander printed with an
apology became the accepted creed of all or nearly all the younger
men of letters in England, and now it is no longer either a
dangerous luxury or an article of orthodox faith, but one of those
uninteresting commonplaces which applied in one way is a truism,
in another a fatuous absurdity. So does fortune turn her wheel
for theories as well as for men and women.
In the passage just quoted Smith deals with the essay mainly as
simple literature, but he loves and praises it not as literature only,
but as autobiography ; not merely as something that is in itself
interesting and attractive, but as a window through which he can
peer in upon something more interesting still—the master who
built the house after his own design and made it an architectural
projection of himself.
” You like, to walk round peculiar or important men as you like to
walk round a building, to view it from different points and in different
lights. Of the essayist, when his mood is communicative, you obtain
a full picture. You are made his contemporary and familiar friend.
You enter into his humours and his seriousness. You are made heir
of his whims, prejudices, and playfulness. You walk through the
whole nature of him as you walk through the streets of Pompeii,
looking into the interior of stately mansions, reading the satirical
scribblings on the walls. And the essayist’s habit of not only giving
you his thoughts, but telling you how he came by them, is interesting,
because it shows you by what alchemy the ruder world becomes
transmuted into the finer. We like to know the lineage of ideas,
just as we like to know the lineage of great earls and swift race-
horses. We like to know that the discovery of the law of gravitation
was born of the fall of an apple in an English garden on a summer
afternoon. Essays written after this fashion are racy of the soil in
which they grow, as you taste the lava in the vines grown on the
slopes of Etna, they say. There is a healthy Gascon flavour in
Montaigne’s Essays ; and Charles Lamb’s are scented with the prim-
roses of Covent Garden.”
In the first of these passages Alexander Smith speaks of the
mantle of the essayist’s thought ” heavily brocaded with the gold
of rhetoric,” and he himself was a cunning embroiderer. It was
a gift of nature, but he did not learn at once how he could best
utilise it. He brocaded his poetry, and on poetry brocade even of
gold is an impertinence, just as is paint—pace Gibson—on the
white marble of the sculptured group or figure. In the essay he
found a form which relies less exclusively upon body of imagina-
tion and perfectness of pure outline—which is more susceptible to
legitimate adornment by the ornamentation of a passing fancy.
It is a form in which even the conceit is not unwelcome : to use
the language of science the conceit finds in the essay its fit
environment. Thus, in Smith’s pages Napoleon dies at St.
Helena ” like an untended watch-fire ” ; Ebenezer Elliot, the
Corn Law rhymer, is ” Apollo, with iron dust upon his face,
wandering among the Sheffield knife-grinders ” ; the solitary
Dreamthorp doctor has a fancy for arguing with the good simple
clergyman, but though ” he cannot resist the temptation to hurl a
fossil at Moses,” ” he wears his scepticism as a coquette wears her
ribbons—to annoy if he cannot subdue—and when his purpose is
served, he puts aside his scepticism—as the coquette puts her
ribbons.” When the black funeral creeps into Dreamthorp from
some outlying hamlet, the people reverently doff their hats and
stand aside, for, as Smith puts it, ” Death does not walk about
here often, but when he does, he receives as much respect as the
squire himself.” There is, in this last sentence, a touch of quiet
Addisonian irony ; and, indeed, Smith reminds us at times of
almost all his great predecessors in the art of essay-writing of
his prime favourites Montaigne and Bacon (” our earliest essayists
and our best ” is his own eulogium) ; and also of Addison, Steele,
Lamb, Hazlitt, and Leigh Hunt. But it is never a reminder
that brings with it a suggestion of imitation. The methods and
graces of these distinguished forerunners are to be found in
Smith’s pages only by patient analysis, and then never in their
crude state, for his personality fuses them into a new amalgam
and stamps them with a new hall-mark.
Perhaps the most purely individual qualities of Smith’s work
are given to it partly by his remarkable aptitude for the presenta-
tion of his thought in simile and metaphor ; partly by his fine
feeling for colour, and, indeed, for all the elements of picturesque-
ness ; and partly by a native tendency to sombreness of reflection
which makes such a theme as that of the essay, ” On Death and
the Fear of Dying,” attractive rather than repellent, or—to
speak, perhaps, with greater accuracy—repellent, yet irresistibly
fascinating, as is the eye of the rattlesnake to its prey. The
image-making endowment makes itself manifest in almost every
passage that it would be possible to quote as characteristic ; and it
may be noted that the associative habit of mind betrays itself not
merely in the sudden simile which transfixes a resemblance on the
wing, but in the numerous pages in which Smith showed his love
for tracing the links of the chain that connects the near and the
far, the present and the past, the seen and the unseen. Thus he
writes in his Dreamthorp cottage :
” That winter morning when Charles lost his head in front of the
banqueting-hall of his own palace, the icicles hung from the eaves of
the houses here, and the clown kicked the snowballs from his clouted
shoon, and thought but of his supper when at three o’clock the red
sun set in the purple mist. On that Sunday in June, while Waterloo
was going on, the gossips, after morning service, stood on the country
roads discussing agricultural prospects, without the slightest suspicion
that the day passing over their heads would be a famous one in the
calendar. . . . The last setting sun that Shakspeare saw reddened the
windows here, and struck warmly on the faces of the hinds coming
home from the fields. The mighty storm that raged while Cromwell
lay a-dying, made all the oak-woods groan round about here, and tore
the thatch from the very roofs that I gaze upon. When I think
of this I can almost, so to speak, lay my hand upon Shakspeare
and upon Cromwell. These poor walls were contemporaries of
both, and I find something affecting in the thought. The mere
soil is, of course, full older than either, but it does not touch one in
the same way. A wall is the creation of a human hand ; the soil is
Smith’s picturesqueness is fully in evidence here, though the
passage was not quoted to illustrate it. Indeed, there are few
writers who satisfy so largely the visual sense of the imagination.
Even his literary appraisements—witness the essays on Dunbar
and Chaucer, and that charming paper ” A Shelf in my Book-
case “—have a pictorial quality, as if he must see something as
well as think something. Here is Dreamthorp where the essayist,
the transfigured Alexander Smith—” Smith’s Smith ” as the
Autocrat of the Breakfast-table would put it—lives his ideal life :
” This place suits my whim, and I like it better year after year.
As with everything else, since I began to love it I find it growing
beautiful. Dreamthorp—a castle, a chapel, a lake, a straggling strip
of grey houses, with a blue film of smoke over all—lies embosomed in
emerald. Summer with its daisies runs up to every cottage door.
From the little height where I am now sitting 1 see it beneath me.
Nothing could be more peaceful. The wind and the birds fly over
it. A passing sunbeam makes brilliant a white gable-end, and brings
out the colours of the blossomed apple-tree beyond, and disappears. I
see figures in the street, but hear them not. The hands on the church
clock seem always pointing to one hour. Time has fallen asleep in
the afternoon sunshine. I make a frame of my fingers and look at
my picture. On the walls of the next Academy’s exhibition will
hang nothing half so beautiful.”
This is the tout ensemble, but every detail has its
charm. There is the canal—a prosaic unpicturesque thing is a
canal; but this particular canal has ” a great white water-lily
asleep on its olive-coloured face,” while to the picture-making eye
” a barge trailing up through it in the sunset is a pretty sight ;
and the heavenly crimsons and purples sleep quite lovingly upon
its glossy ripples. Nor does the evening star disdain it, for as I
walk along I see it mirrored as clearly as in the waters of the
The sombreness of reflection noted as one of the characteristic
features of Smith’s work as an essayist gives to that work a
recognisable autumnal feeling. It is often difficult to think of
it as the work of a young man full of the ordinary buoyant life of
youth ; though when the difficulty presents itself one may remember
also that the young man was destined to die at thirty-seven—that
fatal age for the children of imagination—and it is, perhaps, not
too fanciful to indulge the thought that some presentiment of early
doom may have given to Smith’s meditative moods much of their
pensive seriousness. However this may be, it is certain that
Alexander Smith, with a constancy which the most careless reader
cannot fail to note, recurred again and again, both when oppor-
tunity offered and when opportunity had to be made, to the theme
of death, its mystery, its fear, and its fascination. In one of his
poems, which I quote from memory, he speaks of his life as a
highway which, at some unknown point, has his grave cut across ;
and even in the joyous ” Spring Chanson ” the poet, addressing the
singing merle, drops suddenly from the major into the minor key,
and ends upon the note by which the key is dominated :
” Men live and die, the song remains ; and when
I list the passion of thy vernal breath
Methinks thou singest best to Love and Death—
To happy Lovers and to dying Men.”
Autumn and death must needs be naturally allied in human
thought, though to the joyous-minded even autumn will be
associated with its present fruitage rather than with its presage of
dissolution ; but this intrusion of death into a celebration of the
life and growth of spring seems irrelevant, almost morbid : it may
even seem artificial, as if the poet were deliberately striving after a
strong literary effect by the expedient of an unnatural juxtaposition
of incongruous ideas. To a man of Smith’s mind and tempera-
ment it has certainly neither irrelevance nor artificiality ; whether
we can rightly call it morbid depends upon the meaning we
attach to a word to which the personal feeling rather than the
common reason gives a definition. Smith’s habit was to endeavour
to realise death that he might more fully and richly realise life.
” To denude death of its terrible associations,” he writes, ” were
a vain attempt, the atmosphere is always cold around an iceberg ” ;
and yet in imagination he loves to draw near the iceberg for some
shivering moments that he may enjoy more exquisitely the warmth
of summer sun or piled-up winter fire. To his constant thought
” There are considerations which rob death of its ghastliness, and
help to reconcile us to it. The thoughtful happiness of a human being
is complex, and in certain moved moments which, after they have gone,
we can recognise to have been our happiest, some subtle thought of
death has been curiously intermixed. And this subtle admixture it is
that gives the happy moment its character—which makes the difference
between the gladness of a child, resident in mere animal health and
impulse, and too volatile to be remembered, and the serious joy of a
man who looks before and after, and takes in both this world and the
next. Speaking broadly, it may be said that it is from some obscure
recognition of the fact of death that life draws its final sweetness.
…. This recognition does not always terrify. The spectre has
the most cunning disguises, and often when near us, we are unaware
of the fact of proximity. Unsuspected, this idea of death lurks in the
sweetness of music ; it has something to do with the pleasure with
which we behold the vapour of morning ; it comes between the
passionate lips of lovers; it lives in the thrill of kisses. ‘An inch
deeper, and you will find the emperor.’ Probe joy to its last fibre
and you will find death.”
To preserve always in the background of the mind some great
thought or momentous interest, tends to ensure a certain fine
justice in a man’s estimate of the relative proportions of smaller
things lying in the front of it, and Alexander Smith’s essays have
a restful quality of measure, balance, and sanity. In the ” Essay
on an Old Subject,” published in Last Leaves, the young man who
had but recently gone into the thirties writes with imaginative
prescience—or possibly from a premature experience—of the joys
and gains of middle-age (by which he means the forty-fifth year or
thereabouts) ; and there is in most of his essays, especially in the
Dreamthorp papers which came earliest, a middle-aged maturity
which charms and satisfies, and never disturbs. But it is not a
middle-age which has ossified into routine and become dead to
youth’s enthusiasms—witness the fine ardour of the concluding
sentence of the essay in which he ” memorises ” Carlyle’s appear-
ance at Edinburgh to deliver his Rectorial address : ” When I
saw him for the first time stand up amongst us the other day, and
heard him speak kindly, brotherly, affectionate words …. I am
not ashamed to confess that I felt moved towards him as I do not
think, in any possible combination of circumstances, I could have
felt moved towards any other living man.” And yet, though he has
not lost youth’s ardour, he has freed himself from youth’s arrogant
impatience ; he can be moved by enthusiasms, but not driven help-
lessly before them ; he can project himself from himself and survey
his own thought ” in the round ” ; he has learned the lessons of
Clough’s pregnant words, ” and yet—consider it again.” At the
same time his manner it never that tantalising, irritating manner
of explicit guards, reserves, limitations—the manner of the writer
who is always making himself safe by the sudden ” but ” or
” nevertheless ” or ” notwithstanding.” The due limitation is con-
veyed implicitly, in the primal statement of the thought—in the
touch of irony or humorous extravagance which hints with
sufficing clearness that this or that is not to be interpreted au pied
de la lettre. The delightful essay ” On Vagabonds,” at the close of
the Dreamthorp volume, might be described roughly as a glorifica-
tion of the life of Bohemia, and an impeachment, or at any rate a
depreciation of commonplace Philistine respectability. In dealing
with such a theme with such a bent of mind, the temptation to
force the note, to overcharge the colour, would be to most men—
to all young men, impatient of restricting conventions—well-nigh
irresistible ; but Smith resists it with no apparent effort of
resistance. There is no holding of himself in lest he should speak
unadvisedly with his tongue ; on the contrary, he lets himself go
with perfect abandonment. The ” genuine vagabond,” he says,
” takes captive the heart,” and he declares it ” high time that a
moral game law were passed for the preservation of the wild and
vagrant feelings of human nature ” ; but just when we expect the
stroke of exaggeration there comes instead the light touch of saving
humour, and we know that the essayist is in less danger even than
we of losing his head, or, as the expressive cant phrase has it,
” giving himself away.”
Some of the few (and if I could succeed in increasing their
number I should be greatly content) who know Alexander
Smith’s prose well, and love it even as they know, have probably
favourite papers or favourite groups. Some may feel especially
drawn to the essays of pure reflection, such as ” Death and the
fear of Dying ” and ” The Importance of a Man to Himself ” ;
others to that delightful group in which the familiar simplicities
of nature supply texts for tranquil meditation—” Dreamthorp,”
” Christmas,” and ” Books and Gardens,” in which last there is
also some delightful character-portraiture in the vignettes of the
village doctor and clergyman ; others to the essays in literary
appreciation, such as ” Dunbar,” ” Geoffrey Chaucer,” ” Scottish
Ballads,” and ” A Shelf in my Bookcase.” In the words applied
by Charles Lamb, with a certain free unscrupulousness to the
whole world of books, I must say with regard to Alexander
Smith’s essays, ” I have no preferences.” To me they all have a
charm which somewhat dulls the edge of discrimination, for the
writer rather than the theme is the centre of interest ; he is the
hero of the play, and he is never off the stage. Still in some
torture chamber of inquiry certain names might be extracted from
me, and I think they would be ” Dreamthorp,” ” Books and
Gardens,” and ” A Lark’s Flight.” This last study, which has
not been previously named, is one of the most noteworthy of
Smith’s essays, and will be grateful to the more lazy readers
inasmuch as it tells a story. It is the story of a murder and an
execution, the murder vulgar and commonplace enough—a crime
of brutal violence, the execution a sombrely picturesque function,
with one striking incident which seized and held the imagination
of the boy who witnessed it ; and the story is told with an arrest-
ing vividness to which I know only one parallel in English
literature, the narrative appendix to De Quincey’s famous essay,
” On Murder, considered as one of the Fine Arts.” The execu-
tion took place, after the old custom in Scotland, on the spot
where the crime had been committed—a lonely stretch of grass-
land, some distance outside the city of Glasgow. The criminals
were Irish navvies, members of a large gang employed in the
neighbourhood, and as there were some rumours of a rescue, a
detachment of cavalry, supplemented by field-pieces, surrounded
the scaffold. Of the scene itself, and the one occurrence round
which its latent pathos crystallised, Smith gives the recollections
of boyhood. The men were being brought in a cart to the place
of execution, and when they reached the turn of the road where
they could first see the black cross-beam with its empty halters,
the boy noted the eager, fascinated gaze the doomed men cast
upon it. At last the place was reached, and Smith writes :
” Around it a wide space was kept clear by the military ; the cannon
were placed in position ; out flashed the swords of the dragoons ;
beneath and around on every side was the crowd. Between two brass
helmets I could see the scaffold clearly enough, and when in a little
while the men, bareheaded and with their attendants, appeared upon
it, the surging crowd became stiffened with fear and awe. And now it
was that the incident, so simple, so natural, so much in the ordinary
course of things, and yet so frightful in its tragic suggestions, took
place. Be it remembered that the season was early May, that the day
was fine, that the wheatfields were clothing themselves in the green
of the young crop, and that around the scaffold, standing on a sunny
mound, a wide space was kept clear. When the men appeared
beneath the beam, each under his own proper halter, there was a dead
silence,—every one was gazing too intently to whisper to his neighbour
even. Just then, out of the grassy space at the foot of the scaffold, in
the dead silence audible to all, a lark rose from the side of its nest,
and went singing upward in its happy flight. O heaven ! how did
that song translate itself into dying ears ? Did it bring, in one
burning moment, father and mother, and poor Irish cabin, and prayers
said at bedtime, and the smell of turf fires, and innocent sweet-
hearting, and rising and setting suns ? Did it—but the dragoon’s
horse has become restive, and his helmet bobs up and down and blots
everything ; and there is a sharp sound, and I feel the great crowd
heave and swing, and hear it torn by a sharp shiver of pity, and the
men whom I saw so near but a moment ago are at immeasurable
distance, and have solved the great enigma,—and the lark has not yet
finished his flight : you can see and hear him yonder in the fringe of
a white May cloud. . . . . There is a stronger element of terror in
this incident of the lark than in any story of a similar kind I
Gasps of admiration are amateurish, provincial, ineffective, but
after reading such a passage as this, the words that come first—at
any rate to me—are not in the least critical but simply exclama-
tory. It is wonderful writing ! Then comes a calmer and more
analytical moment in which one discovers something of the secret
of the art in what has seemed at first not art at all but sheer nature.
Mr. Pater, in one of his most instructive essays, has shown that
the ” classical ” element in art is ” the quality of order in beauty,”
and that ” it is that addition of strangeness to beauty that con-
stitutes the romantic character,” romantic art at its best being
moreover distinguished by a fine perfection of workmanship.
This surely then is an impressive miniature example of romantic
art with its combination of strangeness and beauty, and its flaw-
less technique—its absolute saturation of the vehicle of expression
with the very essence of the thing, the emotion that is to be
expressed. Note the directness and simplicity of the early
narrative sentences ; they are a mere recital of facts, and their
very baldness only mitigated by a single emotional phrase, ” the
surging crowd became stiffened with fear and awe,” prepares the
mind for what is to follow. And then, the sudden break in the
second sentence beginning ” Did it,”—how perfectly natural it
seems, and yet how dexterous it really is ; how it renders perfectly
and at a single stroke what the best-chosen words of narrative
would have rendered jumblingly, the brevity of the interval
between the lark’s rising and the consummation of doom—the
sharp bewildering suddenness of the end. Then, lastly, the
curious in these things may notice a certain peculiarity in the
construction of the concluding sentence of the story—the penulti-
mate sentence of the quotation. There are in the volume barely
nine lines, and in these lines the word ” and ” occurs eleven times.
All frequent and close repetitions of a single word are generally
avoided by good writers, and the repetition of an insignificant
conjunction such as ” and ” is, as a rule, something to be specially
avoided. Smith habitually avoided as carefully as any of us, but
here he had to give the feeling of impetuosity, of eager hurry to
get the ghastly story told, and the ” and ” which rapidly accumu-
lates detail upon detail recurs as naturally and inevitably as in the
voluble speech of a little child bursting into her mother’s room
with some marvellous recital of adventure encountered in her
morning walk. This is the high literary art which instinctively
and perfectly adapts the means of language—of word, sound, pause,
and cadence—to the end of absolute expression.
Alexander Smith himself is never wearisome ; and it would ill
become me to weary those whom I would fain interest by sur-
plusage of comment ; but I should like to add a word or two con-
cerning those essays in which he appears as a critic of literature.
Mr. Oscar Wilde has said that all good criticism is simply auto-
biography—that is, I suppose, a statement of personal pre-
ferences. I accept the definition if I may enlarge it by saying
that criticism is not merely a statement of personal preferences
but of justifications for such preferences presented with a view to
persuasion. Of course even with this rider the definition still
leaves autobiography the main element in criticism, and of such
autobiographical appraisement Smith was a master. Whether he
formulated the rule never to write of any authors whose work he
did not enjoy I cannot say : he certainly acted upon it with the
most delightful results. So keen in his gusto, so adequate and
appetising his expression of it, that one may dare to say the next
best thing to reading Montaigne, Bacon, Chaucer, and the
Scottish Ballads, is to read what Alexander Smith has to say about
them. His talk about books is always so human that it will
delight people whom one would not think of calling literary. He
discourses on The Canterbury Tales not as a man weighing and
measuring a book, but as a wayfarer sitting in the inn-yard of the
Tabard at Southwark, watching the crowd of pilgrims with the
eye of an acute and good-natured observer, taking notes of their
appearance, and drawing from it shrewd inferences as to habit and
character. He has certain favourite volumes upon which he ex-
patiates in the essay entitled ” A Shelf in my Bookcase ” ; and the
principle of selection is obvious enough. They are books full of
a rich humanity ; beneath their paragraphs or stanzas he can
feel the beating heart. The literary vesture is simply a vesture
which half reveals and half conceals the objects of his love—the
man or woman who lives and breathes behind. He reveals in the
old Scotch ballads and German hymns, for in them the concealing
veil is thin, and the thoughts and loves and pains of simple souls
in dead centuries are laid open and bare. He prefers Hawthorne’s
Twice-told Tales to his longer and more elaborate works, such as
Transformation and The Scarlet Letter, because he finds more of
the man in them, the solitary author who had no public to think
of, and who wrote because he must. He has a genuine catholicity,
but it is not that uninteresting catholicity which lacks defined
circumferences ; and his general sensibility to excellence is em-
phasised by frank confession of his limitations. The author of
Paradise Lost evidently lies a little outside the reach of Alexander
Smith’s tentacles of sympathy.
” Reading Milton is like dining off gold plate in a company of
kings ; very splendid, very ceremonious, and not a little appalling.
Him I read but seldom, and only on high days and festivals of the
spirit. Him I never lay down without feeling my appreciation
increased for lesser men—never without the same kind of comfort that
one returning from the presence feels when he doffs respectful attitude
and dress of ceremony, and subsides into old coat, familiar arm-chair,
and slippers. After long-continued organ-music the jangle of the
ew’s harp is felt as an exquisite relief.”
There is a trace of Philistinism here—the Philistinism which is
not ashamed but rather complacent ; and it may seem a strange whim
on the part of one who loves Smith’s work to choose as a final sample
of it a passage which, some of the elect may think, does not show
him at his best. But Danton’s commendation of audacity, though
not universally valid, is a word of wisdom to the advocate with a
strong case. Alexander Smith’s best is good with such a rare and
delightful quality of goodness that his appreciator shows no great
temerity in abandoning all reserves and concealments. He is not
afraid of painting the wart, because it is overpowered by strength
of feature and charm of expression. Alexander Smith, as he shows
himself in his prose—in Dreamthorp, in Last Leaves, and in that
entrancing book A Summer in Skye—is one of those writers con-
cerning whom even a lover may tell not only the truth, but the
whole truth. For myself, I read his essays when I was young and
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. I
found them full of stimulation ; I have read them again since I
have become middle-aged, and have found them satisfyingly rest-
giving. At no time have they been found wanting in something
of rare and delicate delight. If criticism be indeed autobiography,
no verdict upon the essays of Alexander Smith could well be at
once more critical or more praiseful than this confession. I love
Mr. Stevenson and my later contemporaries ; but I think I must
confess that I love my early contemporary, Mr. Stevenson’s
countryman and forerunner, better still.
WHY do your leaves uncurl invisibly ?
Is it mere pride ?
When I behold your petals,
They lie immovably against your breast ;
Or opened wide,
Your shield thrown wide.
But none may watch the unveiling of your pride.
Why do you die so soon, so certainly ?
Death is disgrace ;
You should stay dying half your life ;
Your drooping face
Gives you when dying your divinest face.
But death’s pale colours are your sole disgrace.
By C. S.
THE street was feebly lighted, but by the glare from the public-
house at the corner I could see her coming towards me,
holding a jug in one hand and running the other along the
railings in front of the houses as a boy does a stick. She walked
swiftly but cautiously, and rather as if measuring a distance by
counting the paces. As I came nearer, she shrank against the
railings, and almost stopped ; but as soon as I had passed she went
on again more quickly than before. She must have heard me stop
to look after her ; for she paused for a moment, and turned her head
as if listening, and then glided on through the darkness into the
glare ; and as she went into the public-house I caught sight of a
tangle of heavy golden hair hanging down her back.
Presently she came back, keeping close to the houses as before,
and in front of one of them about half-way down the street she
stopped, and passed her hand along the tops of the railings as if
feeling for something. She seemed satisfied, and pushing open
the area gate went down the steps. ” Is that you, Maggie ? “
cried a woman’s voice—and a flood of light came up from the
area. A door was hastily slammed, and all was dark again ; but
as I passed the house I noticed that the spike on the top of one of
the railings was missing.
* * * * *
As I came round the corner by the public-house, I heard a
hoarse shouting and clashing of pewter pots ; and looking in
through the ill-fitting flap doors, I saw a confused crowd of dirty,
greasy men, straggling to get near the counter. I walked on more
quickly down the street, hoping to be in time.
” Stop,” I cried suddenly to the little figure creeping along by
the houses. ” You mustn’t go there to-night. Stay here and
give me the jug, and I’ll bring the beer back to you.”
She started, and caught hold of the railings with one hand.
” Who are you ? ” she said, turning a pair of curiously dull eyes
” Come,” said I, ” stay here ; I’ll tell you all about that when I
come back ; ” and I took hold of the jug.
” Why shouldn’t I get it to-night ? I go nearly every night,
and often during the day as well ; I know the way—and it isn’t
” It’s full of drunken men,” I said ; ” you’d better stay here.”
She gave up the jug and leant listlessly against the railings,
keeping her eyes on the ground.
” Don’t be long please ; they re waiting for me at home. It’s
the first door on the left, and there’s ‘ Jug and Bottle Entrance ‘
on the glass in raised letters.”
” This is an empty house,” I said ; ” you can sit on the steps
while I’m gone.”
When I came back I found her standing by the door with one
hand on the bell-handle.
” Did you say this house was empty ? ” she asked, as I held
out the beer jug.
” Yes,” I answered, glancing at the dirty windows in which
bills were posted ; ” but why ? ”
” Because I’ve been ringing the bell all the time you’ve been
away, for fun ; and because I don’t like being left all alone in the
” You queer child ! Besides it isn’t dark a bit here—there’s
a lovely moon.”
She gave a little shiver, and was silent.
” Why don’t you take your beer ? ” and I offered her the jug
She groped towards me and put her hands on my shoulders
turning those large dull eyes up to mine.
” Can’t you see I’m blind ? ” said she impatiently.
* * * * *
” It’s rather wet to sit here to-night “—and I looked doubtfully
at the doorway up which the wind blew the rain in gusts.
She sat down on the top step, and spread her dress over the damp
” Sit down here ; we can lean against the pillar and be as dry as
” How did you know there was a pillar ? “
She pouted contemptuously. ” Do you think I haven’t my
ways of seeing as well as you ? I could describe this street much
better than you for all your wonderful sight ; besides, I found out
all about this particular doorway that night when you first went
and got the beer.”
” Mind the jug ! ” I cried ; but I was too late ; for with a
sweep of her arm the jug toppled over, and the beer rushed down
the steps across the pavement into the gutter. She bit her lip.
” Now don’t crow over me : it doesn’t follow that I shouldn’t
have done it even if I could see.”
I kissed her forehead lightly.
” Never mind, dear heart ; sit still. I won’t be long getting
” How aunt would have abused poor Maggie if she hadn’t had
her beer,” she remarked, as I sat down again after putting the jug
against the door for safety.
” I shan’t call you Maggie, as they call you that at home. I
shall call you Margaret—Margaret with the glorious hair.”
” Do you think it’s really pretty—very pretty I mean ? ” she
” Pretty,” I echoed ; ” why it’s the most wonderful and
beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
She gave a nervous little laugh, and shook her head so that her
face was hidden in masses of gold.
” I wish I could see it : I can only feel it and know I have
plenty of it ; ” and she frisked her head round so that the warm
waves of colour rippled down my coat into my lap. ” You may
cut a little piece off if you like,” she added with a sigh. I got out
a pair of pocket scissors, and she folded her hands before her.
” You may take one skein ; and mind you don’t cut it off too
near my head and leave an ugly gap with a stump at the top.”
I put my hands gently under the soft warm hair, and choosing
a strand rather darker than the rest cut a piece off the end.
” Let me feel it,” she said—and I put the wisp into her hand.
She nodded contentedly and began fumbling at one of her
stockings. I heard a snap, and presently she gave me a long
cotton thread with which I tied the hair while she held it at each
” Aunt talks about giving up the house,” she said, jerking her
head in the direction of her home ; ” the lodgings don’t pay much,
and I heard her say that if she did she’d have to try and get me
into some place for blind people—an asylum or something. Isn’t
it horrible ? ”
” Fancy shutting a sweet little golden darling like you up in
an asylum ! ” I cried : ” it makes me sick to think of it.” And
catching her in my arms I pulled her back, and covered her face
and neck and hair with kisses.
” Good-night, little golden thing,” I said as she got up to go :
” I shall come to-morrow as usual.” And I put the jug into her
hand, and set her by the railings.
“Take care of that little piece of my hair,” she called ; and I
watched her gliding by the houses till she vanished down the area
of her home.
* * * * *
But alas ! It was fully a fortnight before I was able to visit
the doorway again, and after waiting there in vain for some time
I walked down the deserted street to the house where the spike
was missing from the top of one of the railings.
The windows were quite dark, and on the door just above the
letter-box was a piece of paper freshly pasted on. I went up the
steps and struck a match and read :
FOR KEYS APPLY No. 3 NEWLAND STREET.”
I walked slowly back till I came to the empty house. The
sight of the familiar doorway was too much for me, and sitting
down I leant against the pillar and gave way to my grief.
By Victoria Cross
. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
I DID not turn out of bed till ten o’clock the next morning, and
I was still in dressing-gown and slippers, sitting by the fire,
looking over a map, when Digby came in upon me.
” Hullo, Ray, only just up, eh ? as usual ? ” was his first
exclamation as he entered, his ulster buttoned to his chin, and
the snow thick upon his boots. ” What a fellow you are ! I
can’t understand anybody lying in bed till ten o’clock in the
” And I can’t understand anybody driving up at seven,” I
said, smiling, and stirring my coffee idly. I had laid down the
map with resignation. I knew Digby had come round to jaw
for the next hour at least. ” Can I offer you some breakfast ? ”
” Breakfast ! ” returned Digby contemptuously. ” No, thanks.
I had mine hours ago. Well, what do you think of her ? ”
” Of whom ?—this Theodora ? “
” Oh, it’s Theodora already, is it ? ” said Digby, looking at me.
” Well, never mind : go on. Yes, what do you think of her ? ”
“She seems rather clever, I think.”
” Do you ? ” returned Digby, with a distinct accent of regret,
as if I had told him I thought she squinted. ” I never noticed it.
But her looks, I mean ? ”
” She is very peculiar,” I said, merely.
” But you like everything extraordinary. I should have thought
her very peculiarity was just what would have attracted you.”
” So it does,” I admitted ; ” so much so, that I am going to
take the trouble of calling this afternoon expressly to see her
Digby stared hard at me for a minute, and then burst out
laughing. ” By Jove ! You’ve made good use of your time.
Did she ask you ? ”
” She did,” I said.
” This looks as if it would be a case,” remarked Digby lightly,
and then added, ” I’d have given anything to have had her myself.
But if it’s not to be for me, I’d rather you should be the lucky
man than any one else.”
” Don’t you think all that is a little ‘ previous ‘ ? ” I asked
satirically, looking at him over the coffee, which stood on the map
” Well, I don’t know. You must marry some time, Cecil.”
” Really ! ” I said, raising my eyebrows and regarding him with
increased amusement. ” I think I have heard of men remaining
celibates before now, especially men with my tastes.”
” Yes,” said Digby, becoming suddenly as serious and thoughtful
as if he were being called upon to consider some weighty problem,
and of which the solution must be found in the next ten minutes.
” I don’t know how you would agree. She is an awfully religious
” Indeed ? ” I said with a laugh. ” How do you know ? “
Digby thought hard.
“She is,” he said with conviction, at last. ” I see her at church
” Oh then, of course she must be—proof conclusive,” I
Digby looked at me and then grumbled, ” Confounded sneering
fellow you are. Has she been telling you she is not ? ”
I remembered suddenly that I had promised Theodora not to
repeat her opinions, so I only said, ” I really don’t know what she
is ; she may be most devout for all I know—or care.”
“Of course you can profess to be quite indifferent,” said Digby
ungraciously. “But all I can say is, it doesn’t look like it—your
going there this afternoon ; and anyway, she is not indifferent to
you. She said all sorts of flattering things about you.”
” Very kind, I am sure,” I murmured derisively.
” And she sent round to my rooms this morning a thundering
box of Havannahs in recognition of my having won the bet about
I laughed outright. ” That’s rather good biz for you ! The
least you can do is to let me help in the smoking of them, I
” Of course I will. But it shows what she thinks of you,
doesn’t it ? ”
” Oh, most convincingly,” I said with mock earnestness.
” Havannahs are expensive things.”
” But you know how awfully rich she is, don’t you ? ” asked
Digby, looking at me as if he wanted to find out whether I were
really ignorant or affecting to be so.
” My dear Charlie, you know I know nothing whatever about
her except what you tell me—or do you suppose she showed me
her banking account between the dances ? ”
” Don’t know, I am sure,” Digby grumbled back. ” You sat
in that passage long enough to be going through a banking
account, and balancing it too, for that matter ! However, the
point is, she is rich—tons of money, over six thousand a year.”
” Really ? ” I said, to say something.
” Yes, but she loses every penny on her marriage. Seems such
a funny way to leave money to a girl, doesn’t it ? Some old pig of
a maiden aunt tied it up in that way . Nasty thing to do, I think ;
don’t you ? ”
” Very immoral of the old lady, it seems. A girl like that, if
she can’t marry, will probably forego nothing but the cere-
” She runs the risk of losing her money, though, if anything
were known. She only has it dum casta manet, just like a separa-
” Hard lines,” I murmured sympathetically.
” And so of course her people are anxious she should make a
good match—take some man, I mean, with an income equal to
what she has now of her own, so that she would not feel any loss.
Otherwise, you see, if she married a poor man, it would be rather
a severe drop for her.”
” Conditions calculated to prevent any fellow but a millionaire
proposing to her, I should think,” I said.
” Yes, except that she is a girl who does not care about money.
She has been out now three seasons, and had one or two good
chances and not taken them. Now myself, for instance, if she
wanted money and position and so on, she could hardly do better,
could she ? And my family and the rest of it are all right ; but
she couldn’t get over my red hair—I know it was that. She’s
mad upon looks—I know she is ; she let it out to me once, and
I bet you anything, she’d take you and chuck over her money and
everything else, if you gave her the chance.”
” I am
” I am certainly not likely to,” I answered. ” All this you’ve
just told me alone would be enough to choke me off. I have always
thought I could never love a decent woman unselfishly enough,
even if she gave up nothing for me ; and, great heavens ! I should
be sorry to value myself, at—what do you say she has ?—six
thousand a year ? ”
” Leave the woman who falls in love with the cut of your nose
to do the valuation. You’ll be surprised at the figure ! ” said
Digby with a touch of resentful bitterness, and getting up
abruptly. ” I’ll look round in the evening,” he added, buttoning
up his overcoat. ” Going to be in ? ”
” As far as I know,” I answered, and he left.
I got up and dressed leisurely, thinking over what he had said,
and those words ” six thousand ” repeating themselves unpleasantly
in my brain.
The time was in accordance with strict formality when I found
myself on her steps. The room I was shown into was large,
much too large to be comfortable on such a day ; and I had to
thread my way through a perfect maze of gilt-legged tables and
statuette-bearing tripods before I reached the hearth. Here burnt
a small, quiet, chaste-looking fire, a sort of Vestal flame, whose heat
was lost upon the tesselated tiles, white marble, and polished brass
about it. I stood looking down at it absently for a few minutes,
and then Theodora came in.
She was very simply dressed in some dark stuff that fitted
closely to her, and let me see the harmonious lines of her figure as
she came up to me. The plain, small collar of the dress opened
at the neck, and a delicious, solid, white throat rose from the dull
stuff like an almond bursting from its husk. On the pale, well-
cut face and small head great care had evidently been bestowed.
The eyes were darkened, as last night, and the hair arranged with
infinite pains on the forehead and rolled into one massive coil at
the back of her neck.
She shook hands with a smile—a smile that failed to dispel the
air of fatigue and fashionable dissipation that seemed to cling to
her ; and then wheeled a chair as near to the fender as she
could get it.
As she sat down, I thought I had never seen such splendid
shoulders combined with so slight a hip before.
” Now I hope no one else will come to interrupt us,” she said
simply. ” And don’t let’s bother to exchange comments on the
weather nor last night’s dance. I have done that six times over
this morning with other callers. Don’t let’s talk for the sake of
getting through a certain number of words. Let us talk because
we are interested in what we are saying.”
” I should be interested in anything if you said it,” I
Theodora laughed. ” Tell me something about the East, will
you ? That is a nice warm subject, and I feel so cold.”
And she shot out towards the blaze two well-made feet and
” Yes, in three weeks’ time I shall be in a considerably warmer
climate than this,” I answered, drawing my chair as close to hers
as fashion permits.
Theodora looked at me with a perceptibly startled expression
as I spoke.
” Are you really going out so soon ? ” she said.
” I am, really,” I said with a smile.
” Oh, I am so sorry ! “
” Why ? ” I asked merely.
” Because I was thinking I should have the pleasure of meeting
you lots more times at different functions.”
The Yellow Book— Vol. IV. K
” And would that be a pleasure ? “
” Yes, very great,” said Theodora, with a smile lighting her
eyes and parting faintly the soft scarlet lips.
She looked at me, a seducing softness melting all her face and
swimming in the liquid darkness of the eyes she raised to mine.
A delicious intimacy seemed established between us by that smile.
We seemed nearer to each other after it than before, by many
degrees. A month or two of time and ordinary intercourse may
be balanced against the seconds of such a smile as this.
A faint feeling of surprise mingled with my thoughts, that she
should show her own attitude of mind so clearly, but I believe
she felt instinctively my attraction towards her, and also undoubt-
edly she belonged, and had always been accustomed, to a fast set.
I was not the sort of man to find fault with her for that, and
probably she had already been conscious of this, and felt all the
more at ease with me. The opening-primrose type of woman,
the girl who does or wishes to suggest the modest violet unfolding
beneath the rural hedge, had never had a charm for me. I do not
profess to admire the simple violet ; I infinitely prefer a well-
trained hothouse gardenia. And this girl, about whom there was
nothing of the humble, crooked-neck violet—in whom there was
a dash of virility, a hint at dissipation, a suggestion of a certain
decorous looseness of morals and fastness of manners—could
stimulate me with a keen sense of pleasure, as our eyes or hands
” Why would it be a pleasure to meet me ? ” I asked, holding
her eyes with mine, and wondering whether things would so turn
out that I should ever kiss those parting lips before me.
Theodora laughed gently.
” For a good many reasons that it would make you too con-
ceited to hear,” she answered. ” But one is because you are more
interesting to talk to than the majority of people I meet every
day. The castor of your chair has come upon my dress. Will
you move it back a little, please ? ”
I pushed my chair back immediately and apologised.
” Are you going alone ? ” resumed Theodora.
” Quite alone.”
” Is that nice ? “
” No. I should have been very glad to find some fellow to go
with me, but it’s rather difficult. It is not everybody that one
meets whom one would care to make such an exclusive com-
panion of, as a life like that out there necessitates. Still, there’s
no doubt I shall be dull unless I can find some chum there.”
” Some Englishman, I suppose ? “
” Possibly ; but they are mostly snobs who are out there.”
Theodora made a faint sign of assent, and we both sat silent,
staring into the fire.
” Does the heat suit you ? ” Theodora asked, after a pause.
” Yes, I like it.”
” So do I.”
” I don’t think any woman would like the climate I am going
to now, or could stand it,” I said.
Theodora said nothing, but I had my eyes on her face, which
was turned towards the light of the fire, and I saw a tinge of
mockery come over it.
We had neither said anything farther, when the sound of a
knock reached us, muffled, owing to the distance the sound had to
travel to reach us by the drawing-room fire at all, but distinct in
the silence between us.
Theodora looked at me sharply.
” There is somebody else. Do you want to leave yet ? ” she
asked, and then added in a persuasive tone, ” Come into my own
study, where we shan’t be disturbed, and stay and have tea with
me, will you ? ”
She got up as she spoke.
The room had darkened considerably while we had been sitting
there, and only a dull light came from the leaden, snow-laden sky
beyond the panes, but the firelight fell strongly across her figure
as she stood, glancing and playing up it towards the slight waist,
and throwing scarlet upon the white throat and under-part of the
full chin. In the strong shadow on her face I could see
merely the two seducing eyes. Easily excitable where once a
usually hypercritical or rather hyperfanciful eye has been attracted,
I felt a keen sense of pleasure stir me as I watched her rise and
stand, that sense of pleasure which is nothing more than an
assurance to the roused and unquiet instincts within one, of
future satisfaction or gratification, with, from, or at the expense of
the object creating the sensation. Unconsciously a certainty of
possession of Theodora to-day, to-morrow, or next year, filled me
for the moment as completely as if I had just made her my wife.
The instinct that demanded her was immediately answered by a
mechanical process of the brain, not with doubt or fear, but
simple confidence. ” This is a pleasant and delightful object to
you—as others have been. Later it will be a source of enjoy-
ment to you—as others have been.” And the lulling of this
painful instinct is what we know as pleasure. And this instinct
and its answer are exactly that which we should not feel within us
for any beloved object. It is this that tends inevitably to degrade
the loved one, and to debase our own passion. If the object is
worthy and lovely in any sense, we should be ready to love it as
being such, for itself, as moralists preach to us of Virtue, as
theologians preach to us of the Deity. To love or at least to
strive to love an object for the object’s sake, and not our own
sake, to love it in its relation to its pleasure
and not in its relation
to our own pleasure, is to feel the only love which is worthy of
offering to a fellow human being, the one which elevates—and
the only one—both giver and receiver. If we ever learn this
lesson, we learn it late. I had not learnt it yet.
I murmured a prescribed ” I shall be delighted,” and followed
Theodora behind a huge red tapestry screen that reached half-way
up to the ceiling.
We were then face to face with a door which she opened, and
we both passed over the threshold together.
She had called the room her own, so I glanced round it with a
certain curiosity. A room is always some faint index to the
character of its occupier, and as I looked a smile came to my face.
This room suggested everywhere, as I should have expected, an
intellectual but careless and independent spirit. There were two
or three tables, in the window, heaped up with books and strewn
over with papers. The centre-table had been pushed away, to
leave a clearer space by the grate, and an armchair, seemingly of
unfathomable depths, and a sofa, dragged forward in its place.
Within the grate roared a tremendous fire, banked up half-way
to the chimney, and a short poker was thrust into it between the
bars. The red light leapt over the whole room and made it
brilliant, and glanced over a rug, and some tumbled cushions on
the floor in front of the fender, evidently where she had been
lying. Now, however, she picked up the cushions, and tossed
them into the corner of the couch, and sat down herself in the
” Do you prefer the floor generally ? ” I asked, taking the
armchair as she indicated it to me.
” Yes, one feels quite free and at ease lying on the floor,
whereas on a couch its limits are narrow, and one has the con-
straint and bother of taking care one does not go to sleep and
” But suppose you did, you would then but be upon the
” Quite so ; but I should have the pain of falling.”
Our eyes met across the red flare of the firelight.
Theodora went on jestingly : ” Now, these are the ethics of
the couch and the floor. I lay myself voluntarily on the floor,
knowing it thoroughly as a trifle low, but undeceptive and favourable
to the condition of sleep which will probably arise, and suitable to
my requirements of ease and space. I avoid the restricted and
uncertain couch, recognising that if I fall to sleep on that raised
level, and the desire to stretch myself should come, I shall awake
with pain and shock to feel the ground, and see above me the
couch from which I fell—do you see ? ”
She spoke lightly, and with a smile, and I listened with one.
But her eyes told me that these ethics of the couch and floor
covered the ethics of life.
” No, you must accept the necessity of the floor, I think, unless
you like to forego your sleep and have the trouble of taking care to
stick upon your couch ; and for me the difference of level between
the two is not worth the additional bother.”
She laughed, and I joined her.
” What do you think ? ” she asked.
I looked at her as she sat opposite me, the firelight playing all
over her, from the turn of her knee just marked beneath her skirt
to her splendid shoulders, and the smooth soft hand and wrist
supporting the distinguished little head. I did not tell her what
I was thinking ; what I said was : ” You are very logical. I am
quite convinced there’s no place like the ground for a siesta.”
Theodora laughed, and laid her hand on the bell.
A second or two after, a door, other than the one we had entered
by, opened, and a maid appeared.
” Bring tea and pegs,” said Theodora, and the door shut again.
” I ordered pegs for you because I know men hate tea,” she
said. ” That’s my own maid. I never let any of the servants
answer this bell except her ; she has my confidence, as far as one
ever gives confidence to a servant. I think she likes me. I like
making myself loved,” she added impulsively.
” You’ve never found the least difficulty in it, I should think,”
I answered, perhaps a shade more warmly than I ought, for the
colour came into her cheek and a slight confusion into her eyes.
The servant’s re-entry saved her from replying.
” Now tell me how you like your peg made, and I’ll make it,”
said Theodora, getting up and crossing to the table when the
servant had gone.
I got up, too, and protested against this arrangement.
Theodora turned round and looked up at me, leaning one hand
on the table.
” Now, how ridiculous and conventional you are ! ” she said.
” You would think nothing of letting me make you a cup of tea,
and yet I must by no means mix you a peg ! ”
She looked so like a young fellow of nineteen as she spoke
that half the sense of informality between us was lost, and there
was a keen, subtle pleasure in this superficial familiarity with her
that I had never felt with far prettier women. The half of nearly
every desire is curiosity, a vague, undefined curiosity, of which we
are hardly conscious ; and it was this that Theodora so violently
stimulated, while her beauty was sufficient to nurse the other half.
This feeling of curiosity arises, of course, for any woman who
may be new to us, and who has the power to move us at all. But
generally, if it cannot be gratified for the particular one, it is more
or less satisfied by the general knowledge applying to them all ;
but here, as Theodora differed so much from the ordinary feminine
type, even this instinctive sort of consolation was denied me. I
looked down at her with a smile.
” We shan’t be able to reconcile Fashion and Logic, so it’s no
use,” I said. ” Make the peg, then, and I’ll try and remain in the
fashion by assuming it’s tea.”
” Great Scott ! I hope you won’t fancy it’s tea while you are
drinking it ! ” returned Theodora laughing.
She handed me the glass, and I declared nectar wasn’t in it with
that peg, and then she made her own tea and came and sat
down to drink it, in not at all an indecorous, but still informal
” Did you collect anything in the East ? ” she asked me, after a
minute or two.
” Yes ; a good many idols and relics and curiosities of sorts,” I
answered. ” Would you like to see them ? ”
” Very much,” Theodora answered. ” Where are they ? “
” Well, not in my pocket,” I said smiling. ” At my chambers.
Could you and Mrs. Long spare an afternoon and honour me with
a visit there ? ”
” I should like it immensely. I know Helen will come if I
” When you have seen them I must pack them up, and send
them to my agents. One can’t travel about with those things.”
A sort of tremor passed over Theodora’s face as I spoke, and
her glance met mine, full of demands and questionings, and a very
distinct assertion of distress. It said distinctly, ” I am so sorry
you are going.” The sorrow in her eyes touched my vanity
deeply, which is the most responsive quality we have. It is
difficult to reach our hearts or our sympathies, but our vanity is
always available. I felt inclined to throw my arm round that
supple-looking waist—and it was close to me—and say, ” Don’t
be sorry ; come too.” I don’t know whether my looks were as
plain as hers, but Theodora rose carelessly, apparently to set her
teacup down, and then did not resume her seat by me, but went
back to the sofa on the other side of the rug. This, in the state
of feeling into which I had drifted, produced an irritated sensation,
and I was rather pleased than not when a gong sounded some-
where in the house and gave me a graceful opening to rise.
” May I hope to hear from you, then, which day you will like
to come ? ” I asked, as I held out my hand.
Now this was the moment I had been expecting, practically,
ever since her hand had left mine last night, the moment when it
should touch it again. I do not mean consciously, but there are
a million slight, vague physical experiences and sensations within
us of which the mind remains unconscious. Theodora’s white
right hand rested on her hip, the light from above struck upon it,
and I noted that all the rings had been stripped from it ; her left
was crowded with them, so that the hand sparkled at each
movement, but not one remained on her right. I coloured violently
for the minute as I recollected my last night’s pressure, and the
idea flashed upon me at once that she had removed them expressly
to avoid the pain of having them ground into her flesh.
The next second Theodora had laid her hand confidently in
mine. My mind, annoyed at the thought that had just shot
through it, bade me take her hand loosely and let it go, but
Theodora raised her eyes to me, full of a soft disappointment
which seemed to say, ” Are you not going to press it, then, after
all, when I have taken off all the rings entirely that you may ? “
That look seemed to push away, walk over, ignore my reason, and
appeal directly to the eager physical nerves and muscles.
Spontaneously, whether I would or not, they responded to it, and
my fingers laced themselves tightly round this morsel of velvet-
We forgot in those few seconds to say the orthodox good-byes ;
she forgot to answer my question. That which we were both
saying to each other, though our lips did not open, was, ” So I
should like to hold and embrace you ; ” and she, ” So I should like
to be held and embraced.”
Then she withdrew her hand, and I went out by way of the
drawing-room where we had entered.
In the hall her footman showed me out with extra obsequiousness.
My three-hours’ stay raised me, I suppose, to the rank of more
than an ordinary caller.
It was dark now in the streets, and the temperature must have
been somewhere about zero. I turned my collar up and started
to walk sharply in the direction of my chambers. Walking always
induces in me a tendency to reflection and retrospection, and now,
removed from the excitement of Theodora’s actual presence, my
thoughts lapped quietly over the whole interview, going through it
backwards, like the calming waves of a receding tide, leaving
lingeringly the sand. There was no doubt that this girl attracted
me very strongly, that the passion born yesterday was nearing
adolescence ; and there was no doubt, either, that I ought to strangle
it now before it reached maturity. My thoughts, however, turned
impatiently from this question, and kept closing and centring round
the object itself, with maddening persistency. I laughed to myself
as Schopenhauer’s theory shot across me that all impulse to love is
merely the impulse of the genius of the genus to select a fitting
object which will help in producing a Third Life. Certainly the
genius of the genus in me was weaker than the genius of my own
individuality, in this instance, for Theodora was as unfitted,
according to the philosopher’s views, to become a co-worker with
me in carrying out Nature’s aim, as she was fitted to give me as
an individual the strongest personal pleasure.
I remember Schopenhauer does admit that this instinct in man
to choose some object which will best fulfil the duty of the race,
is apt to be led astray, and it is fortunate he did not forget to make
this admission, if his theory is to be generally applied, considering
how very particularly often we are led astray, and that our strongest,
fiercest passions and keenest pleasures are constantly not those
suitable to, nor in accordance with, the ends of Nature. The
sharpest, most violent stimulus, we may say, the true essence of
pleasure, lies in some gratification which has no claim whatever, in
any sense, to be beneficial or useful, or to have any ulterior motive,
conscious or instinctive, or any lasting result, or any fulfilment of
any object, but which is simple gratification and dies naturally in
its own excess.
As we admit of works of pure genius that they cannot claim
utility, or motive, or purpose, but simply that they exist as joy-
giving and beautiful objects of delight, so must we have done with
utility, motive, purpose, and the aims of Nature, before we can
reach the most absolute degree of positive pleasure. To choose an
admissible instance, a naturally hungry man, given a slice of bread,
will he or will he not devour it with as great a pleasure as the
craving drunkard feels in swallowing a draught of raw brandy ?
In the first case a simple natural desire is gratified, and the aim
of Nature satisfied ; but the individual’s longing and subsequent
pleasure cannot be said to equal the furious craving of the
drunkard, and his delirious sense of gratification as the brandy
burns his throat.
My inclination towards Theodora could hardly be the simple,
natural instinct, guided by natural selection, for then surely I
should have been swayed towards some more womanly individual,
some more vigorous and at the same time more feminine physique.
In me, it was the mind that had first suggested to the senses, and
the senses that had answered in a dizzy pleasure, that this passionate,
sensitive frame, with its tensely-strung nerves and excitable pulses,
promised the height of satisfaction to a lover. Surely to Nature it
promised a poor if possible mother, and a still poorer nurse. And
these desires and passions that spring from that border-land between
mind and sense, and are nourished by the suggestions of the one
and the stimulus of the other, have a stronger grip upon our
organisation, because they offer an acuter pleasure, than those
simple and purely physical ones in which Nature is striving after
her own ends and using us simply as her instruments.
I thought on in a desultory sort of way, more or less about
Theodora, and mostly about the state of my own feelings, until I
reached my chambers. There I found Digby, and in his society,
with his chaff and gabble in my ears, all reflection and philosophy
fled, without leaving me any definite decision made.
The next afternoon but one found myself and Digby standing
at the windows of my chambers awaiting Theodora’s arrival. I
had invited him to help me entertain the two women, and also to
help me unearth and dust my store of idols and curiosities, and
range them on the tables for inspection. There were crowds of
knick-knacks picked up in the crooked streets and odd corners of
Benares, presents made to me, trifles bought in the Cairo bazaars,
and vases and coins discovered below the soil in the regions of the
Tigris. Concerning several of the most typical objects Digby
and I had had considerable difference of opinion. One highly
interesting bronze model of the monkey-god at Benares he had
declared I could not exhibit on account of its too pronounced
realism and insufficient attention to the sartorial art. I had
insisted that the god’s deficiencies in this respect were not more
striking than the objects in flesh-tints, hung at the Academy, that
Theodora viewed every season.
” Perhaps not,” he answered. ” But this is not in
white, and hung on the Academy walls for the public to stare at,
and therefore you can’t let her see it.”
This was unanswerable. I yielded, and the monkey-god was
wheeled under a side-table out of view.
Every shelf and stand and table had been pressed into the
service, and my rooms had the appearance of a corner in an
Egyptian bazaar, now when we had finished our preparations.
” There they are,” said Digby, as Mrs. Long’s victoria came
Theodora was leaning back beside her sister, and it struck me
then how representative she looked, as it were, of herself and her
position. From where we stood we could see down into the
victoria, as it drew up at our door. Her knees were crossed
under the blue carriage-rug, on the edge of which rested her two
small pale-gloved hands. A velvet jacket, that fitted her as its
skin fits the grape, showed us her magnificent shoulders, and the
long easy slope of her figure to the small waist. On her head, in
the least turn of which lay the acme of distinction, amongst the
black glossy masses of her hair, sat a small hat in vermilion velvet,
made to resemble the Turkish fez. As the carriage stopped, she
glanced up ; and a brilliant smile swept over her face, as she
bowed slightly to us at the window. The handsome painted
eyes, the naturally scarlet lips, the pallor of the oval face, and each
well-trained movement of the distinguished figure, as she rose
and stepped from the carriage, were noted and watched by our
four critical eyes.
” A typical product of our nineteenth-century civilisation,” I
said, with a faint smile, as Theodora let her fur-edged skirt draw
over the snowy pavement, and we heard her clear cultivated tones,
with the fashionable drag in them, ordering the coachman not to
let the horses get cold.
” But she’s a splendid sort of creature, don’t you think ? ” asked
Digby. ” Happy the man who——eh ? ”
I nodded. ” Yes,” I assented. ” But how much that man
should have to offer, old chap, that’s the point ; that six thousand
of hers seems an invulnerable protection.”
” I suppose so,” said Digby with a nervous yawn. ” And to
think I have more than double that and yet— It’s a pity. Funny
it will be if my looks and your poverty prevent either of us having
” My own case is settled,” I said decisively. ” My position
and hers decide it for me.”
” I’d change places with you this minute if I could,” muttered
Digby moodily, as steps came down to our door, and we went
forward to meet the women as they entered.
It seemed to arrange itself naturally that Digby should be
occupied in the first few seconds with Mrs. Long, and that I
should be free to receive Theodora.
Of all the lesser emotions, there is hardly any one greater than
that subtle sense of pleasure felt when a woman we love crosses
for the first time our own threshold. We may have met her a
hundred times in her house, or on public ground, but the sensa-
tion her presence then creates is altogether different from that
instinctive, involuntary, momentary and delightful sense of
ownership that rises when she enters any room essentially our
It is the very illusion of possession.
With this hatefully egoistic satisfaction infused through me, I
drew forward for her my own favourite chair, and Theodora
sank into it, and her tiny, exquisitely-formed feet sought my
fender-rail. At a murmured invitation from me, she unfastened
and laid aside her jacket. Beneath, she revealed some purplish,
silk-like material, that seemed shot with different colours as
the firelight fell upon it. It was strained tight and smooth
upon her, and the swell of a low bosom was distinctly defined
below it. There was no excessive development, quite the con-
trary, but in the very slightness there was an indescribably
sensuous curve, and a depression, rising and falling, that seemed
as if it might be the very home itself of passion. It was a
breast with little suggestion of the duties or powers of Nature,
but with infinite seduction for a lover.
” What a marvellous collection you have here,” she said throw-
ing her glance round the room. ” What made you bring home
all these things ? ”
” The majority were gifts to me—presents made by the different
natives whom I visited or came into connection with in various
ways. A native is never happy, if he likes you at all, until he has
made you some valuable present.”
” You must be very popular with them indeed,” returned
Theodora, glancing from a brilliant Persian carpet, suspended on
the wall, to a gold and ivory model of a temple, on the console by
” Well, when one stays with a fellow as his guest, as I have
done with some of these small rajahs and people, of course one tries
to make oneself amiable.”
” The fact is, Miss Dudley,” interrupted Digby, ” Ray
admires these fellows, and that is why they like him. Just look
at this sketch-book of his—what trouble he has taken to make
portraits of them.”
And he stretched out a limp-covered pocket-album of mine.
I reddened slightly and tried to intercept his hand.
” Nonsense, Digby. Give the book to me,” I said ; but
Theodora had already taken it, and she looked at me as I spoke
with one of those delicious looks of hers that could speak so clearly.
Now it seemed to say, ” If you are going to love me, you must
have no secrets from me.” She opened the book and I was
subdued and let her. I did not much care, except that it was
some time now since I had looked at it, and I did not know what
she might find in it. However, Theodora was so different from
girls generally, that it did not greatly matter.
” Perhaps these are portraits of your different conquests amongst
the Ranees, are they ? ” she said. ” I don’t see ‘ my victims,’
though, written across the outside as the Frenchmen write on
” No,” I said, with a smile, ” I think these are only portraits of
men whose appearance struck me. The great difficulty is to
persuade any Mohammedan to let you draw him.”
The very first leaf she turned seemed to give the lie to my
words. Against a background of yellow sand and blue sky, stood
out a slight figure in white, bending a little backward, and holding
in its hands, extended on either side, the masses of its black hair
that fell through them, till they touched the sand by its feet.
Theodora threw a side-glance full of derision on me, as she raised
her eyes from the page.
” I swear it isn’t,” I said hastily, colouring, for I saw she
thought it was a woman. ” It’s a young Sikh I bribed to let
me paint him.”
” Oh, a young Sikh, is it ? ” said Theodora, bending over the
book again. ” Well it’s a lovely face ; and what beautiful hair ! ”
” Yes, almost as beautiful as yours,” I murmured, in safety, for
the others were wholly occupied in testing the limits of the
flexibility of the soapstone.
Not for any consideration in this world could I have restrained
the irresistible desire to say the words, looking at her sitting
sideways to me, noting that shining weight of hair lying on the
white neck, and that curious masculine shade upon the upper lip.
A faint liquid smile came to her face.
” Mine is not so long as that when you see it undone,” she said,
looking at me.
” How long is it? ” I asked mechanically, turning over the
leaves of the sketch-book, and thinking in a crazy sort of way
what I would not give to see her with that hair unloosed, and have
the right to lift a single strand of it.
” It would not touch the ground,” she answered, ” it must be
about eight inches off it, I think.”
” A marvellous length for a European,” I answered in a con-
ventional tone, though it was a difficulty to summon it.
Within my brain all the dizzy thoughts seemed reeling together
till they left me hardly conscious of anything but an acute painful
sense of her proximity.
” Find me the head of a Persian, will you ? ” came her voice next.
” A Persian ? ” I repeated mechanically.
Theodora looked at me wonderingly and I recalled myself.
” Oh, yes,” I answered, ” I’ll find you one. Give me the
I took the book and turned over the leaves towards the end.
As I did so, some of the intermediate pages caught her eye, and
she tried to arrest the turning leaves.
” What is that ? Let me see.”
” It is nothing,” I said, passing them over. ” Allow me to find
you the one you want.”
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. L
Theodora did not insist, but her glance said : ” I will be re-
venged for this resistance to my wishes ! ”
When I had found her the portrait, I laid the open book back
upon her knees. Theodora bent over it with an unaffected ex-
clamation of delight. ” How exquisite ! and how well you have
done it ! What a talent you must have ! ”
” Oh no, no talent,” I said hastily. ” It’s easy to do a thing
like that when your heart is in it.”
Theodora looked up at me and said simply, ” This is a
And I looked back in her eyes and said as simply, ” Yes, it is a
Theodora was silent, gazing at the open leaf, absorbed. And
half-unconsciously my eyes followed hers and rested with hers on
Many months had gone by since I had opened the book ; and
many, many cigars, that according to Tolstoi deaden every mental
feeling, and many, many pints of brandy that do the same thing,
only more so, had been consumed, since I had last looked upon
that face. And now I saw it over the shoulder of this woman.
And the old pain revived and surged through me, but it was dull—
dull as every emotion must be in the near neighbourhood of a
new object of desire—every emotion except one.
” Really it is a very beautiful face, isn’t it ? ” she said at last,
with a tender and sympathetic accent, and as she raised her head
our eyes met.
I looked at her and answered, ” I should say yes, if we were not
looking at it together, but you know beauty is entirely a question
Her face was really not one-tenth so handsome as the mere
shadowed, inanimate representation of the Persian girl, beneath
our hands. I knew it and so did she. Theodora herself would
have been the first to admit it. But nevertheless the words were
ethically true. True in the sense that underlay the society com-
pliment, for no beauty of the dead can compare with that of the
living. Such are we, that as we love all objects in their relation
to our own pleasure from them, so even in our admiration, the
greatest beauty, when absolutely useless to us, cannot move us as
a far lesser degree has power to do, from which it is possible to
hope, however vaguely, for some personal gratification. And to
this my words would come if translated. And I think Theodora
understood the translation rather than the conventional form of
them, for she did not take the trouble to deprecate the flattery.
I got up, and, to change the subject, said, ” Let me wheel up
that little table of idols. Some of them are rather curious.”
I moved the tripod up to the arm of her chair.
Theodora closed the sketch-book and put it beside her, and
looked over the miniature bronze gods with interest. Then she
stretched out her arm to lift and move several of them, and her
soft fingers seemed to lie caressingly—as they did on everything
they touched—on the heads and shoulders of the images. I
watched her, envying those senseless little blocks of brass.
” This is the Hindu equivalent of the Greek Aphrodite,” I said,
lifting forward a small, unutterably hideous, squat female figure,
with the face of a monkey, and two closed wings of a dragon on
” Oh, Venus,” said Theodora. ” We must certainly crown
her amongst them, though hardly, I think, in this particular case,
for her beauty ! ”
And she laughingly slipped off a diamond half-hoop from her
middle finger, and slipped the ring on to the model’s head. It
fitted exactly round the repulsive brows of the deformed and
stunted image, and the goddess stood crowned in the centre of the
table, amongst the other figures, with the circlet of brilliants,
flashing brightly in the firelight, on her head. As Theodora
passed the ring from her own warm white finger on to the forehead
of the misshapen idol, she looked at me. The look, coupled with
the action, in my state, went home to those very inner cells of the
brain where are the springs themselves of passion. At the same
instant the laughter and irresponsible gaiety and light pleasure on
the face before me, the contrast between the delicate hand and the
repellent monstrosity it had crowned—the sinister, allegorical
significance—struck me like a blow. An unexplained feeling of
rage filled me. Was it against her, myself, her action, or my own
desires ? It seemed for the moment to burn against them all.
On the spur of it, I dragged forward to myself another of the
images from behind the Astarte, slipped oft” my own signet-ring,
and put it on the head of the idol.
” This is the only one for me to crown,” I said bitterly, with a
laugh, feeling myself whiten with the stress and strain of a host
of inexplicable sensations that crowded in upon me, as I met
Theodora’s lovely inquiring glance.
There was a shade of apprehensiveness in her voice as she said,
” What is that one ? ”
” Shiva,” I said curtly, looking her straight in the eyes. ” The
god of self-denial.”
I saw the colour die suddenly out of her face, and I knew I had
hurt her. But I could not help it. With her glance she had
summoned me to approve or second her jesting act. It was a
challenge I could not pass over. I must in some correspondingly
joking way either accept or reject her coronation. And to reject
it was all I could do, since this woman must be nothing to me.
There was a second’s blank pause of strained silence. But, super-
ficially, we had not strayed off the legitimate ground of mere
society nothings, whatever we might feel lay beneath them.
And Theodora was trained thoroughly in the ways of fashion.
The next second she leant back in her chair, saying lightly,
” A false, absurd, and unnatural god ; it is the greatest error to
strive after the impossible ; it merely prevents you accomplishing
the possible. Gods like these,” and she indicated the abominable
squint-eyed Venus, “are merely natural instincts personified, and
one may well call them gods since they are invincible. Don’t
you remember the fearful punishments that the Greeks represented
as overtaking mortals who dared to resist nature’s laws, that they
chose to individualise as their gods ? You remember the fate of
Hippolytus who tried to disdain Venus, of Pentheus who tried to
subdue Bacchus ? These two plays teach the immortal lesson
that if you have the presumption to try to be greater than nature
she will in the end take a terrible revenge. The most we can do
is to guide her. You can never be her conqueror. Consider
yourself fortunate if she allows you to be her charioteer.”
It was all said very lightly and jestingly, but at the last phrase
there was a flash in her eye, directed upon me—yes, me—as if
she read down into my inner soul, and it sent the blood to my
As the last word left her lips, she stretched out her hand and
deliberately took my ring from the head of Shiva, put it above her
own diamonds on the other idol, and laid the god I had chosen,
the god of austerity and mortification, prostrate on its face, at the
feet of the leering Venus.
Then, without troubling to find a transition phrase, she got up
and said, ” I am going to look at that Persian carpet.”
It had all taken but a few seconds ; the next minute we were
over by the carpet, standing in front of it and admiring its hues in
the most orthodox terms. The images were left as she had
placed them. I could do nothing less, of course, than yield to a
woman and my guest. The jest had not gone towards calming
my feelings, nor had those two glances of hers—the first so tender
and appealing as she had crowned the Venus, the second so virile
and mocking as she had discrowned the Shiva. There was a
strange mingling of extremes in her. At one moment she seemed
will-less, deliciously weak, a thing only made to be taken in one’s
arms and kissed. The next, she was full of independent uncon-
trollable determination and opinion. Most men would have found
it hard to be indifferent to her. When beside her you must either
have been attracted or repelled. For me, she was the very worst
woman that could have crossed my path.
As I stood beside her now, her shoulder only a little below my
own, her neck and the line of her breast just visible to the side
vision of my eye, and heard her talking of the carpet, I felt there
was no price I would not have paid to have stood for one half-hour
in intimate confidence with her, and been able to tear the veils
from this irritating character.
From the carpet we passed on to a table of Cashmere work and
next to a pile of Mohammedan garments. These had been packed
with my own personal luggage, and I should not have thought of
bringing them forth for inspection. It was Digby who, having
seen them by chance in my portmanteau, had insisted that they
would add interest to the general collection of Eastern trifles.
” Clothes, my dear fellow, clothes ; why, they will probably please
her more than anything else.”
Theodora advanced to the heap of stuffs and lifted them.
” What is the history of these ? ” she said laughing. ” These
were not presents to you ! ”
” No,” I murmured. ” Bought in the native bazaars.”
” Some perhaps,” returned Theodora, throwing her glance over
them. ” But a great many are not new.”
It struck me that she would not be a woman very easy to
deceive. Some men value a woman in proportion to the ease with
which they can impose upon her, but to me it is too much trouble
to deceive at all, so that the absence of that amiable quality did
not disquiet me. On the contrary, the comprehensive, cynical,
and at the same time indulgent smile that came so readily to
Theodora’s lips charmed me more, because it was the promise of
even less trouble than a real or professed obtuseness.
” No,” I assented merely.
” Well, then ? ” asked Theodora, but without troubling to seek
a reply. ” How pretty they are and how curious ! this one, for
instance.” And she took up a blue silk zouave, covered with gold
embroidery, and worth perhaps about thirty pounds. ” This has
been a good deal worn. It is a souvenir, I suppose ? ”
I nodded. With any other woman I was similarly anxious to
please I should have denied it, but with her I felt it did not
” Too sacred perhaps, then, for me to put on ? ” she asked with
her hand in the collar, and smiling derisively.
” Oh dear no ! ” I said, ” not at all. Put it on by all means.”
” Nothing is sacred to you, eh ? I see. Hold it then.”
She gave me the zouave and turned for me to put it on her.
A glimpse of the back of her white neck, as she bent her head
forward, a convulsion of her adorable shoulders as she drew on the
jacket, and the zouave was fitted on. Two seconds perhaps,
but my self-control wrapped round me had lost one of its skins.
” Now I must find a turban or fez,” she said, turning over
gently, but without any ceremony, the pile. ” Oh, here’s one ! “
She drew out a white fez, also embroidered in gold, and, removing
her hat, put it on very much to one side, amongst her black hair,
with evident care lest one of those silken inflected waves should be
disturbed ; and then affecting an undulating gait, she walked over
to the fire.
” How do you like me in Eastern dress, Helen ? ” she said,
addressing her sister, for whom Digby was deciphering some old
coins. Digby and I confessed afterwards to each other the
impulse that moved us both to suggest it was not at all complete
without the trousers. I did offer her a cigarette, to enhance
” Quite passable, really,” said Mrs. Long, leaning back and
surveying her languidly.
Theodora took the cigarette with a laugh, lighted and smoked
it, and it was then, as she leant against the mantel-piece with her
eyes full of laughter, a glow on her pale skin, and an indolent
relaxation in the long, supple figure, that I first said, or rather an
involuntary, unrecognised voice within me said, ” It is no good ;
whatever happens I must have you.”
” Do you know that it is past six, Theo ? ” said Mrs. Long.
” You will let me give you a cup of tea before you go ? ” I said.
” Tea ! ” repeated Theodora. ” I thought you were going to
say haschisch or opium, at the least, after such an Indian
” I have both,” I answered, “would you like some ? ” thinking,
” By Jove, I should like to see you after the haschisch.”
” No,” replied Theodora, ” I make it a rule not to get
intoxicated in public.”
When the women rose to go, Theodora, to my regret, divested
herself of the zouave without my aid, and declined it also for
putting on her own cloak. As they stood drawing on their gloves
I asked if they thought there was anything worthy of their
acceptance amongst these curiosities. Mrs. Long chose from the
table near her an ivory model of the Taj, and Digby took it up
to carry for her to the door. As he did so his eye caught the table
” This is your ring, Miss Dudley, I believe,” he said.
I saw him grin horridly as he noted the arrangement of the
figures. Doubtless he thought it was mine.
I took up my signet-ring again, and Theodora said carelessly,
without the faintest tinge of colour rising in her cheek, ” Oh, yes,
I had forgotten it. Thanks.”
She took it from him and replaced it.
I asked her if she would honour me as her sister had done.
” There is one thing in this room that I covet immensely,” she
said, meeting my gaze.
” It is yours, of course, then,” I answered. ” What is it ? “
Theodora stretched out her open hand. ” Your sketch-book.”
For a second I felt the blood dye suddenly all my face. The
request took me by surprise, for one thing ; and immediately after
the surprise followed the vexatious and embarrassing thought that
she had asked for the one thing in the room that I certainly did
not wish her to have. The book contained a hundred thousand
memories, embodied in writing, sketching, and painting, of those
years in the East. There was not a page in it that did not reflect
the emotions of the time when it had been filled in, and give a
chronicle of the life lived at the date inscribed on it. It was a
sort of diary in cipher, and to turn over its leaves was to re-live
the hours they represented. For my own personal pleasure I liked
the book and wanted to keep it, but there were other reasons too why
I disliked the idea of surrendering it. It flashed through me, the
question as to what her object was in possessing herself of it.
Was it jealousy of the faces or any face within it that prompted her,
and would she amuse herself, when she had it, by tearing out the
leaves or burning it ? To give over these portraits merely to be
sacrificed to a petty feminine spite and malice, jarred upon me.
Involuntarily I looked hard into her eyes to try and read her
intentions, and I felt I had wronged her. The eyes were full of
the softest, tenderest light. It was impossible to imagine them
vindictive. She had seen my hesitation and she smiled faintly.
” Poor Herod with your daughter of Herodias,” she said, softly.
” Never mind, I will not take it.”
The others who had been standing with her saw there was some
embarrassment that they did not understand, and Mrs. Long
turned to go slowly down the corridor. Digby had to follow.
Theodora was left standing alone before me, her seductive figure
framed in the open doorway. Of course she was irresistible. Was
she not the new object of my desires ?
I seized the sketch-book from the chair. What did anything
” Yes,” I said hastily, putting it into that soft, small hand
before it could draw back. ” Forgive me the hesitation. You
know I would give you anything.”
If she answered or thanked me, I forget it. 1 was sensible of
nothing at the moment but that the blood seemed flowing to my
brain, and thundering through it, in ponderous waves. Then I
knew we were walking down the passage, and in a few minutes
more we should have said good-bye, and she would be gone.
An acute and yet vague realisation came upon me that the
corridor was dark, and that the others had gone on in front, a
confused recollection of the way she had lauded Nature and its
domination a short time back, and then all these were lost again
in the eddying torrent of an overwhelming desire to take her in
my arms and hold her, control her, assert my will over hers, this
exasperating object who had been pleasing and seducing every
sense for the last three hours, and now was leaving them all
unsatisfied. That impulse towards some physical demonstration,
that craving for physical contact, which attacks us suddenly with
its terrific impetus, and chokes and stifles us, ourselves, beneath it,
blinding us to all except itself, rushed upon me then, walking
beside her in the dark passage ; and at that instant Theodora
” I am tired,” she said languidly. ” May I take your arm ? “
and her hand touched me.
I did not offer her my arm, I flung it round her neck, bending
back her head upon it, so that her lips were just beneath my own
as I leant over her, and I pressed mine on them in a delirium of
Everything that should have been remembered I forgot.
Knowledge was lost of all, except those passive, burning lips
under my own. As I touched them, a current of madness
seemed to mingle with my blood, and pass flaming through all my
I heard her moan, but for that instant I was beyond the reach
of pity or reason, I only leant harder on her lips in a wild,
unheeding, unsparing frenzy. It was a moment of ecstasy that I
would have bought with years of my life. One moment, the
next I released her, and so suddenly, that she reeled against the
wall of the passage. I caught her wrist to steady her. We
dared neither of us speak, for the others were but little ahead of
us ; but I sought her eyes in the dusk.
They met mine, and rested on them, gleaming through the
darkness. There was no confusion nor embarrassment in them,
they were full of the hot, clear, blinding light of passion ; and I
knew there would be no need to crave forgiveness.
The next moment had brought us up to the others, and to the
end of the passage.
Mrs. Long turned round, and held out her hand to me.
” Good-bye,” she said. ” We have had a most interesting
It was with an effort that I made some conventional remark.
Theodora, with perfect outward calm, shook hands with myself
and Digby, with her sweetest smile, and passed out.
I lingered some few minutes with Digby, talking ; and then he
went off to his own diggings, and I returned slowly down the
passage to my rooms.
My blood and pulses seemed beating as they do in fever, my
ears seemed full of sounds, and that kiss burnt like the brand of
hot iron on my lips. When I reached my rooms, I locked the
door and flung both the windows open to the snowy night. The
white powder on the ledge crumbled and drifted in.
. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
By Charles Sydney
MY love is selfish and unfair,
Her kisses fall so thick and fast,
That while I wait to give my share,
The priceless time is past.
And I have been to blame till now,
For I have let her do her will ;
I thought it courteous to allow
My love to take her fill,
Trusting a time would quickly be,
When she would stay and look for mine ;
But having borne it patiently,
I will no longer pine.
I’ll fold her in my arms to-night,
And justice on her lips I’ll wreak :
I’ll teach my love to know the right,
And not oppress the meek !
BEAR thyself with formal gait,
Be thy language all sedate ;
Thy opinions take on trust,
Take gold for thy only lust.
Shun belief devout or deep,
Ever to the safe side keep ;
Let thy hollow laugh be framed
To the joke by all acclaimed.
Never for pure charity
Level a disparity ;
Farm thy favour to a fool,
Make his gratitude thy tool.
Let thy conscience be a thing
Like a clock to go, and ring
Just that time the hour doth mark.
Let some other light the dark !
Friend and wife a bargain buy
There where state and money lie ;
Claim a goodly cenotaph,
Buy a lying epitaph !
A Falling Out
HAROLD told me the main facts of this episode, some time
later—in bits, and with reluctance. It was not a recollec-
tion he cared to talk about. The crude blank misery of a moment
is apt to leave a dull bruise which is slow to depart, if indeed it ever
does so entirely ; and Harold confesses to a twinge or two, still, at
times, like the veteran who brings home a bullet inside him from
martial plains over sea.
He knew he was a brute the moment after he had done it ; Selina
had not meant to worry, only to comfort and assist. But his
soul was one raw sore within him, when he found himself shut up
in the schoolroom after hours, merely for insisting that 7 times 7
amounted to 47. The injustice of it seemed so flagrant. Why
not 47 as much as 49 ? One number was no prettier than the
other to look at, and it was evidently only a matter of arbitrary
taste and preference, and, anyhow, it had always been 47 to him,
and would be to the end of time. So when Selina came in out of
the sun, leaving the Trappers of the Far West behind her, and
putting off the glory of being an Apache squaw in order to hear
him his tables and win his release, Harold turned on her venom-
ously, rejected her kindly overtures, and even drove his elbow into
her sympathetic ribs, in his determination to be left alone in the
The Yellow Book.—Vol. IV. M
glory of sulks. The fit passed directly, his eyes were opened, and
his soul sat in the dust as he sorrowfully began to cast about for
some atonement heroic enough to salve the wrong.
Needless to say, Selina demanded no sacrifice nor heroics what-
ever ; she didn’t even want him to say he was sorry. If he
would only make it up, she would have done the apologising part
herself. But that was not a boy’s way. Something solid, Harold
felt, was due from him ; and until that was achieved, making up
must not be thought of, in order that the final effect might not be
spoilt. Accordingly, when his release came, and poor Selina hung
about, trying to catch his eye, Harold, possessed by the demon of
a distorted motive, avoided her steadily—though he was bleeding
inwardly at every minute of delay—and came to me instead.
Of course I approved his plan highly; it was so much better
than just going and making it up tamely, which any one could do ;
and a girl who had been jobbed in the ribs by a hostile elbow
could not be expected for a moment to overlook it, without the
liniment of an offering to soothe her injured feelings.
” I know what she wants most,” said Harold. ” She wants that
set of tea-things in the toy-shop window, with the red and blue
flowers on ’em ; she’s wanted it for months, ‘cos her dolls are
getting big enough to have real afternoon tea ; and she wants it
so badly that she won’t walk that side of the street when we go
into the town. But it costs five shillings ! ”
Then we set to work seriously, and devoted the afternoon to a
realisation of assets and the composition of a Budget that might
have been dated without shame from Whitehall. The result
worked out as follows :
By one uncle, unspent through having been lost for nearly
a week—turned up at last in the straw of the dog-
kennel . . . . . . . . 2 6
By advance from me on security of next uncle, and failing
that, to be called in at Christmas . . . . 1 0
By shaken out of missionary-box with the help of a knife-
blade. (They were our own pennies and a forced
levy) . . . . . . . . . 4
By bet due from Edward, for walking across the field where
Farmer Larkin’s bull was, and Edward bet him
twopence he wouldn’t—called in with difficulty . 2
By advance from Martha, on no security at all, only you
mustn’t tell your aunt . . . . . 1 0
Total 5 0
and at last we breathed again.
The rest promised to be easy. Selina had a tea-party at five on
the morrow, with the chipped old wooden tea-things that had
served her successive dolls from babyhood. Harold would slip
off directly after dinner, going alone, so as not to arouse
suspicion, as we were not allowed to go into the town by our-
selves. It was nearly two miles to our small metropolis, but
there would be plenty of time for him to go and return, even
laden with the olive-branch neatly packed in shavings ; besides, he
might meet the butcher, who was his friend and would give him
a lift. Then, finally, at five, the rapture of the new tea-service,
descended from the skies ; and then, retribution made, making
up at last, without loss of dignity. With the event before us,
we thought it a small thing that twenty-four hours more of
alienation and pretended sulks must be kept up on Harold’s part ;
but Selina, who naturally knew nothing of the treat in store for
her, moped for the rest of the evening, and took a very heavy
heart to bed.
When next day the hour for action arrived, Harold evaded
Olympian attention with an easy modesty born of long practice,
and made off for the front gate. Selina, who had been keeping
her eye upon him, thought he was going down to the pond to catch
frogs, a joy they had planned to share together, and slipped out
after him ; but Harold, though he heard her footsteps, continued
sternly on his high mission, without even looking back ; and
Selina was left to wander disconsolately among flower-beds that
had lost—for her—all scent and colour. I saw it all, and, although
cold reason approved our line of action, instinct told me we were
Harold reached the town—so he recounted afterwards—in
record time, having run most of the way for fear lest the tea-
things, which had reposed six months in the window, should be
snapped up by some other conscience-stricken lacerator of a
sister’s feelings ; and it seemed hardly credible to find them still
there, and their owner willing to part with them for the price
marked on the ticket. He paid his money down at once, that
there should be no drawing back from the bargain ; and then, as
the things had to be taken out of the window and packed, and
the afternoon was yet young, he thought he might treat himself
to a taste of urban joys and la vie de Bohème. Shops came first,
of course, and he flattened his nose successively against the
window with the india-rubber balls in it, and the clock-work
locomotive : and against the barber s window, with wigs on
blocks, reminding him of uncles, and shaving-cream that looked
so good to eat ; and the grocer’s window, displaying more currants
than the whole British population could possibly consume with-
out a special effort ; and the window of the bank, wherein gold
was thought so little of that it was dealt about in shovels. Next
there was the market-place, with all its clamorous joys ; and
when a runaway calf came down the street like a cannon-ball,
Harold felt that he had not lived in vain. The whole place was
so brimful of excitement that he had quite forgotten the why and
the wherefore of his being there, when a sight of the church
clock recalled him to his better self, and sent him flying out of
the town, as he realized he had only just time enough left to get
back in. If he were after his appointed hour, he would not only
miss his high triumph, but probably would be detected as a
transgressor of bounds—a crime before which a private opinion on
multiplication sank to nothingness. So he jogged along on his
homeward way, thinking of many things, and probably talking to
himself a good deal, as his habit was. He must have covered nearly
half the distance, when suddenly—a deadly sinking in the pit of the
stomach—a paralysis of every limb—around him a world extinct
of light and music—a black sun and a reeling sky—he had for-
gotten the tea-things !
It was useless, it was hopeless, all was over, and nothing could
now be done ; nevertheless he turned and ran back wildly, blindly,
choking with the big sobs that evoked neither pity nor comfort
from a merciless, mocking world around ; a stitch in his side, dust
in his eyes, and black despair clutching at his heart. So he
stumbled on, with leaden legs and bursting sides, till—as if Fate
had not yet dealt him her last worst buffet—on turning a corner
in the road he almost ran under the wheels of a dog-cart, in which,
as it pulled up, was apparent the portly form of Farmer Larkin,
the arch-enemy whose ducks he had been shying stones at that
very morning !
Had Harold been in his right and unclouded senses, he would
have vanished through the hedge some seconds earlier, rather than
pain the farmer by any unpleasant reminiscences which his appear-
ance might call up ; but as things were he could only stand and
blubber hopelessly, caring, indeed, little now what further ill might
befall him. The farmer, for his part, surveyed the desolate figure
with some astonishment, calling out in no unfriendly accents,
” What, Master Harold ! whatever be the matter ? Baint runnin’
away, be ee ? ”
Then Harold, with the unnatural courage born of desperation,
flung himself on the step, and, climbing into the cart, fell in the
straw at the bottom of it, sobbing out that he wanted to go back,
go back ! The situation had a vagueness ; but the farmer, a man
of action rather than words, swung his horse round smartly, and
they were in the town again by the time Harold had recovered
himself sufficiently to furnish some details. As they drove up to
the shop, the woman was waiting at the door with the parcel ;
and hardly a minute seemed to have elapsed since the black crisis,
ere they were bowling along swiftly home, the precious parcel
hugged in a close embrace.
And now the farmer came out in quite a new and unexpected
light. Never a word did he say of broken fences and hurdles,
trampled crops and harried flocks and herds. One would have
thought the man had never possessed a head of live stock in his
life. Instead, he was deeply interested in the whole dolorous
quest of the tea-things, and sympathised with Harold on the
disputed point in mathematics as if he had been himself at the
same stage of education. As they neared home, Harold found
himself, to his surprise, sitting up and chatting to his new friend
like man to man ; and before he was dropped at a convenient gap
in the garden hedge, he had promised that when Selina gave her
first public tea-party, little Miss Larkin should be invited to come
and bring her whole sawdust family along with her, and the
farmer appeared as pleased and proud as if he had been asked to a
garden-party at Marlborough House. Really those Olympians
have certain good points, far down in them. I shall leave off
abusing them some day.
At the hour of five, Selina, having spent the afternoon searching
for Harold in all his accustomed haunts, sat down disconsolately
to tea with her dolls, who ungenerously refused to wait beyond
the appointed hour. The wooden tea-things seemed more chipped
than usual ; and the dolls themselves had more of wax and saw-
dust, and less of human colour and intelligence about them, than
she ever remembered before. It was then that Harold burst in,
very dusty, his stockings at his heels, and the channels ploughed
by tears still showing on his grimy cheeks ; and Selina was at last
permitted to know that he had been thinking of her ever since
his ill-judged exhibition of temper, and that his sulks had not been
the genuine article, nor had he gone frogging by himself. It
was a very happy hostess who dispensed hospitality that evening to
a glassy-eyed stiff-kneed circle ; and many a dollish gaucherie, that
would have been severely checked on ordinary occasions, was as
much overlooked as if it had been a birthday.
But Harold and I, in our stupid masculine way, thought all
her happiness sprang from possession of the long-coveted tea-
Hor. Car. I. 5
A Modern Paraphrase
By Charles Newton-Robinson
PYRRHA, the wan, the golden-tressed !
For what bright boy are you waiting, dressed
So witchingly, in your simple best ?
Yes, like a witch in her cave, you sit
In the gilded midnight, rosy-lit ;
While snares for souls of men you knit.
The boy shall wonder, the boy shall rue
Like me, that ever he deemed you true.
Mine is another tale of you.
For I have known that sea-calm brow
Dark with treacherous gusts ere now,
And saved myself, I know not how.
By Norman Hapgood
THE fact that none of his work has been translated into English
is probably a source of amused satisfaction to many of the
lovers of Beyle. Though he exercised a marked influence on
Mérimée, was wildly praised by Balzac, was discussed twice by
Sainte-Beuve, was pointed to in Maupassant’s famous manifesto-
preface to Pierre et Jean ; though he has been twice eulogised by
Taine, and once by Bourget ; and though he has been carefully
analysed by Zola, he is read little in France and scarcely at all
elsewhere. While his name, at his death scarcely heard beyond
his little circle of men of letters, has become rather prominent,
his books are still known to very few. His cool prophecy that a
few leading spirits would read him by 1880 was justified, and the
solution of his doubt whether he would not by 1930 have sunk
again into oblivion seems now at least as likely as it was then to
be an affirmative. ” To the happy few,” he dedicated his latest
important novel, and it will be as it has been, for the few, happy
in some meanings of that intangible word, that his character and
his writings have a serious interest.
In one of the Edinburgh Review’s essays on Mme. du
is a rather striking passage in which Jeffrey sums up the con-
ditions that made conversation so fascinating in the salons of the
France of Louis XV. In Rome, Florence, et Naples, published
shortly afterward by Beyle, under his most familiar pseudonym
of Stendhal, is a conversation, with all the marks of a piece
of genuine evidence on the English character, between the author
and an Englishman ; and yet a large part of what is given as
the opinion of this acquaintance of Beyle is almost a literal
translation of Jeffrey’s remarks on the conditions of good con-
versation. Such a striking phrase as ” where all are noble all are
free ” is taken without change, and the whole is stolen with
almost equal thoroughness. This characteristic runs through all of
his books. He was not a scholar, so he stole his facts and many
of his opinions, with no acknowledgments, and made very pleasing
Related, perhaps, to this characteristic, are the inexactness of
his facts and the unreliability of his judgments. Berlioz some-
where in his memoirs gives to Stendhal half-a-dozen lines, which
run something like this : ” There was present also one M. Beyle,
a short man with an enormous belly, and an expression which he
tries to make benign and succeeds in making malicious. He is
the author of a Life of Rossini, full of painful stupidities about
music.” Painful indeed, to a critic with the enthusiasm and the
mastery of Berlioz, a lot of emphatic judgments from a man who
was ignorant of the technique of music, who took it seriously but
lazily, and who could make such a delicious comment at the end
of a comparison of skill with inspiration, as, ” What would not
Beethoven do, if, with his technical knowledge, he had the ideas
of Rossini ? ” Imagine the passionate lover of the noblest
in music hearing distinctions drawn between form and idea in
music, with condescension for Beethoven, by a man who found in
Cimarosa and Rossini his happiness night after night through
years. Imagine Beyle talking of grace, sweetness, softness,
voluptuousness, ease, tune, and Berlioz growing harsh with rage
and running away to hide from these effeminate notions in the
stern poetry of Beethoven’s harmonies. Imagine them crossing
over into literature and coming there at the height to the same
name, Shakespeare. What different Shakespeares they are. Berlioz,
entranced, losing self-control for days, feeling with passion the
glowing life of the poet’s words, would turn, as from something
unclean, from the man whose love for Macbeth showed itself
mostly in the citation of passages that give fineness to the feelings
which the school of Racine thought unsuited to poetry. ” You
use it as a thesis,” the enthusiast might cry. ” The grandeur,
the wealth, the terror of it escape you. You see his delicacy, his
proportion, a deeper taste than the classic French taste, and it
forges you a weapon. But you are not swept on by him, you
never get into the torrent of him, you are cool and shallow, and
your praise is profanation.” Stendhal read Shakespeare with some
direct pleasure, no doubt, but he was always on the look-out for
quotations to prove some thesis, and he read Scott and Richardson,
probably all the books he read in any language, in the same
unabandoned restricted way.
In painting it is the same. It is with a narrow and dilettante
intelligence that he judges pictures. The painter who feeds
certain sentiments, he loves and thinks great. Guido Reni is
suave ; therefore only one or two in the world’s history can com-
pare with him. One of them is Correggio, for his true voluptuous-
ness. These are the artists he loves. Others he must praise, as
he praised Shakespeare, to support some attack on French canons of
art. Therefore is Michelangelo one of the gods. The effort is
apparent throughout, and as he recalls the fact that Mme. du
Deffand and Voltaire saw in Michelangelo nothing but ugliness,
and notes that such is the attitude of all true Frenchmen, the lover
of Beyle smiles at his effort to get far enough away from his own
saturated French nature to love the masculine and august painter
he is praising. Before the Moses, Mérimée tells us, Beyle could
find nothing to say beyond the observation that ferocity could not
be better depicted. This vague, untechnical point of view was no
subject of regret to Stendhal. He gloried in it. ” Foolish as
a scholar,” he says somewhere, and in another place, ” Vinci is a
great artist precisely because he is no scholar.”
Add to these qualities of lack of truthfulness, lack of thorough-
ness, and lack of imagination, a total disregard for any moral view
of life, in the sense of a believing, strenuous view, and you have,
from the negative side, the general aspects of Stendhal’s character.
He was not vicious—far from it—though he admires many things
that are vicious. He is not indecent, for ” the greatest enemy of
voluptuousness is indecency,” and voluptuousness tests all things.
The keen Duclos has said that the French are the only people among
whom it is possible for the morals to be depraved without either the
heart being depraved or the courage being weakened. It would
be almost unfair to speak of Beyle’s morals as depraved, as even in
his earliest childhood he seems to have been without a touch of
any moral quality. ” Who knows that the world will last a
week ? ” he asks, and the question expresses well the instinct in
him that made him deny any appeal but that of his own ends.
Both morals and religion really repel him. It is impossible to
love a supreme being, he says, though we may perhaps respect
him. Indeed, he believes that love and respect never go together,
that grace, which he loves, excludes force, which he respects ; and
thus he loves Reni and respects Michelangelo. Grace and force
are the opposite sides of a sphere, and the human eye cannot see
both. As for him, he fearlessly takes sympathy and grace and
abandons nobility. In the same manner that he excludes
strenuous feelings of right altogether, he makes painting, which
he thinks the nobler art, secondary to music, which is the more
comfortable. For a very sensitive man, he goes on, with real
coherence to the mind of a Beylian, painting is only a friend, while
music is a mistress. Happy indeed he who has both friend and
mistress. In some of his moods, the more austere, the nobler and
less personal tastes and virtues, interest him, for he is to some
extent interested in everything ; but except where he is supporting
one of his few fundamental theses he does not deceive himself into
thinking he likes them, and he never takes with real seriousness
anything he does not like. Elevation and ferocity are the two
words he uses over and over again in explaining that Michelangelo,
alone could paint the Bible, and the very poverty of his vocabulary,
so discriminating when he is on more congenial subjects, suggests
how external was the acquaintance of Beyle with elevation or
ferocity, with Michelangelo or the Bible. He has written
entertainingly on such subjects, but it all has the sound of guess-
work. These two qualities, with which he sums up the sterner
aspects of life, are perhaps not altogether separable from a third,
dignity, and his view of this last may throw some light on the
nature of his relations with the elevation and ferocity he praises.
Here is a passage from Le Rouge et le Noir: ” Mathilde thought
she saw happiness. This sight, all-powerful with people who
combine courageous souls with superior minds, had to fight long
against dignity and all vulgar sentiments of duty.” Equally lofty
is his tone towards other qualities that are in reality part of the
same attitude ; a tone less of reproach than of simple contempt.
The heroine of Le Rouge et le Noir is made to argue that ” it is
necessary to return in good faith to the vulgar ideas of purity and
honour.” Two more of the social virtues are disposed of by him
in one extract, which, by the way, illustrates also the truly logical
and the apparently illogical nature of Stendhal’s thought. It will
take a little reflection to see how he gets so suddenly from industry
to patriotism in the following judgment, but the coherence of the
thought will be complete to the Beylian : ” It is rare that a young
Neapolitan of fourteen is forced to do anything disagreeable. All
his life he prefers the pain of want to the pain of work. The
fools from the North treat as barbarians the citizens of this country,
because they are not unhappy at wearing a shabby coat. Nothing
would seem more laughable to an inhabitant of Crotona than to
suggest his fighting to get a red ribbon in his button-hole, or to
have a sovereign named Ferdinand or William. The sentiment
of loyalty, or devotion to dynasty, which shines in the novels of
Sir Walter Scott, and which should have made him a peer, is as
unknown here as snow in May. To tell the truth, I don’t see
that this proves these people fools. (I admit that this idea is in
very bad taste.)” For himself, he hated his country, as he curtly
puts it, and loved none of his relatives. Patriotism, for which his
contempt is perhaps mixed with real hatred, is in his mind allied to the
most of all stupid tyrants, propriety, or, as he more often calls it,
opinion, his most violent aversion. Napoleon, he thinks, in
destroying the custom of cavaliere serviente simply added to the
world’s mass of ennui by ushering into Italy the flat religion of pro-
priety. He is full of such lucid observations as that the trouble with
opinion is that it takes a hand in private matters, whence comes
the sadness of England and America. To this sadness of the
moral countries and the moral people he never tires of referring.
His thesis carries him so far that he bunches together Veronese and
Tintoretto under the phrase, ” painters without ideal,” in whom
there is something dry, narrow, reasonable, bound by propriety ;
in a word, incapable of rapture. This referring to some general
standard, this lack of directness, of fervour, of abandonment, is
illustrated by the Englishman’s praise of his mistress, that there
was nothing vulgar in her. It would take, Beyle says, eight days
to explain that to a Milanese, and then he would have a fit of
These few references illustrate fairly the instincts and beliefs
that are the basis of Stendhal’s whole thought and life. The
absolute degree of moral scepticism that is needed to make a
sympathetic reader of him is—especially among people refined
and cultivated enough to care for his subjects—everywhere rare.
I call it a moral rather than an intellectual scepticism, because,
while he would doubtless deny the possibility of knowing the
best good of the greatest number, a more ultimate truth is that he
is perfectly indifferent to the good of the greatest number. It is
unabashed egotism. The assertion of his individual will, absolute
loyalty to his private tastes, is his principle of thought and action,
and his will and his tastes do not include the rest of the world,
and its desires. ” What is the ME ? I know nothing about it.
One day I awoke upon this earth, I found myself united to a
certain body, a certain fortune. Shall I go into the vain amuse-
ment of wishing to change them, and in the meantime forget to
live ? That is to be a dupe ; I submit to their failings. I
submit to my aristocratic bent, after having declaimed for ten
years, in good faith, against all aristocracy. I adore Roman
noses, and yet, if I am a Frenchman, I resign myself to having
received from heaven only a Champagne nose : what can I do
about it ? The Romans were a great evil for humanity, a deadly
disease which retarded the civilisation of the world …. In spite
of so many wrongs, my heart is for the Romans.” Thus, in all
the details of his extended comparison, Beyle tries to state with
fairness the two sides, the general good and the personal, the need
of obedience to its rules if some general ends of society are to be
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. N
attained, and the individual’s loss from obedience. He states with
fairness, but his own choice is never in doubt. He goes to what
directly pleases him. ” Shall I dare to talk of the bases of
morals ? From the accounts of my comrades I believe that there
are as many deceived husbands at Paris as at Boulogne, at Berlin
as at Rome. The whole difference is that at Paris the sin is caused
by vanity, and at Rome by climate. The only exception I find
is in the middle classes in England, and all classes at Geneva.
But, upon my honour, the drawback in ennui is too great. I
prefer Paris. It is gay.” His tastes, his sympathies, are unhesi-
tatingly with the Roman in the following judgment : ” A
Roman to whom you should propose to love always the same
woman, were she an angel, would exclaim that you were taking
from him three-quarters of what makes life worth while. Thus,
at Edinburgh, the family is first, and at Rome it is a detail. If
the system of the Northern people sometimes begets the mono-
tony and the ennui that we read on their faces, it often causes a
calm and continuous happiness.” This steady contrast is noted
by his mind merely, his logical fairness. His mind is judicial in a
sort of negative, formal sense ; judicial without weight, we
might almost say. He does not feel, or see imaginatively,
sympathetically, the advantages of habitual constancy. He feels
only the truths of the other side, or the side of truth which he
expresses when he says that all true passion is selfish : and
passion and its truth are the final test for him. This selfishness,
which is even more self-reliance than it is self-seeking, which has
his instinctive approval in all moods, is directly celebrated by him
in most. The more natural genius and originality one has, he
says, the more one feels the profound truth of the remark of the
Duchesse de Ferté, that she found no one but herself who was
always right. And not only does natural genius, which we
might sum up as honesty to one’s instincts, or originality, make
us contemptuous of all judgments but our own ; it leads us (so
far does Beyle go) to esteem only ourselves. Reason, he argues,
or rather states, makes us see, and prevents our acting, since
nothing is worth the effort it costs. Laziness forces us to prefer
ourselves, and in others it is only ourselves that we esteem.
With this principle as his broadest generalisation it is not un-
natural that his profoundest admiration was for Napoleon. I am
a man, he says in substance, who has loved a few painters, a few
people, and respected one man—Napoleon. He respected a man
who knew what he wanted, wanted it constantly, and pursued it
fearlessly, without scruples and with intelligence, with constant
calculation, with lies, with hypocrisy, with cruelty. Beyle
used to lie with remarkable ease even in his youth. He makes
his almost autobiographical hero, Julien Sorel, a liar throughout
and a hypocrite on the very day of his execution. Beyle lays
down the judgments about Napoleon, that he liked argument,
because he was strong in it, and that he kept his peace, like a
savage, whenever there was any possibility of his being seen to be
inferior to any one else in grasp of the topic under discussion. It
is in his Life of Napoleon that Beyle dwells as persistently as any-
where on his never-ceasing principle : examine yourself ; get at your
most spontaneous, indubitable tastes, desires, ambitions ; follow
them ; act from them unceasingly ; be turned aside by nothing.
It is possible, in going through Beyle’s works for that purpose,
to find a remark here and there that might possibly indicate a
basis of faith under this insistence, a belief that in the end a thorough
independence of aim in each individual would be for the good of
all ; but these passing words really do not go against the truth
of the statement that Beyle was absolutely without the moral
attitude ; that the pleasing to himself immediately was all he gave
interest to, and that of the intellectual qualities those that had
beauty for him were the crueller ones—force, concentration,
sagacity, in the service of egotism. But here are a few of the
possible exceptions. ” Molière,” he says, in a dispute about that
writer’s morality, ” painted with more depth than the other poets.
Therefore, he is more moral. Nothing could be more simple.”
With this epigram he leaves the subject ; but it is tolerably clear
that he means to deny any other moral than truth, not to say that the
truth is an inevitable servant of good. If it did mean the latter, it was
thrown off at the moment as an easy argument, for his belief is pro-
nounced through his works, that his loves are the world’s banes, and
that any interest in the world’s good, in the moral law, is bour-
geois and dull. Here is another phrase that perhaps might suggest
that the generalisation was unsafe : ” He is the greatest man in
Europe because he is the only honest man.” This, like the other,
is clear enough to a reader of him ; and it is really impossible to
find in him any identification of the interesting, the worthy,
with the permanently and generally serviceable. Where the
social point of view is taken for a moment it is by grace of logic
purely, for a formal fairness. A more unmitigated moral rebel, a
more absolute sceptic, a more thoroughly isolated individual than
the author of Le Rouge et le Noir could not exist. Nor could
a more unhesitating dogmatist exist, despite his sneering apologies,
for dogmatism is as natural an expression of absolute scepticism as
it is of absolute faith. When a man refuses to say anything
further than, ” This is true for me, at this moment,” or perhaps,
” This is true of a man exactly such as I describe, in exactly these
circumstances,” he is likely to make these statements with un-
shakable firmness. This distinctness and coherence of the mind,
which is entirely devoted to relativity, is one of the charms of
Stendhal for his lovers. It makes possible the completeness and
the originality of a perfect individual, of an entirely unrestrained
growth. It is the kind of character that we call capricious or
fantastic when it is weak, but when it is strong it has a value for
us through its emphasis of interesting principles which we do not
find so visible and disentangled in more conforming people. The
instincts which in Stendhal have such a free field to expatiate seem
to some readers rare and distinguished, and to these readers it is a
delight to see them set in such high relief. This, in its most
general aspect, is what gave him his short-lived glory among the
young writers of France. They hailed him as the discoverer of
the doctrine of relativity, or as the first who applied it to the par-
ticular facts they wished to emphasise—the environment and its
influence on the individual. This has been overworked by great
men and little men until we grow sad at the sound of the word ;
but it was not so in Beyle’s time, and he used the principle with
moderation, seldom or never forgetting the incalculable and inex-
plicable accidents of individual variations. He does not forget
either that individuals make the environment, and he is really
clearer than his successors in treating race-traits, the climate and
the local causes, individual training, and individual idiosyncrasies, as
a great mixed whole, in which the safest course is to stick pretty
closely to the study of the completed product. For this reason
Zola very properly removed him from the pedestal on which Taine
had put him, for what is a solvent of all problems to the school
for which Taine hoped to be the prophet is in Stendhal but one
principle, in its place on an equality with others. Zola’s analysis
of this side of Beyle is really masterly ; and he proves without
difficulty that the only connection between Beyle and the present
naturalists is one of creed, not of execution—that Beyle did not
apply the principle he believed in. The setting of his scenes is
not distinct. Sometimes it is not even sketched in ; and here
Zola draws an illustration from a strong scene in Le Rouge et
Noir, and shows how different the setting would have been
in his own hands. Beyle is a logician, abstract ; Zola thinks him-
self concrete, and concrete he is—often by main force. This is a
sad failure to apply the doctrine of relativity to oneself. Beyle
errs sometimes in the same way, and some of his attempts at local
colour are very tiresome, but on the whole he remains frankly the
analyser, the introspective psychologist, the man of distinct but
disembodied ideas. He recognised the environment as he recog-
nised other things in his fertile reflections, but he was as a rule
too faithful to his own principles to spend much time in trying to
reproduce it in details which did not directly interest him. It
was therefore natural that his celebration by the extremists should
be short-lived. Most of them do him what justice they can with
effort, like Zola, or pass him over with some such word as the
” dry ” of Goncourt. His fads were his own. None of them
have yet become the fads of a school, though some principles that
were restrained with him have become battle-cries in later times.
His real fads are hardly fitted to be banners, for they are too
specific. In very general theories he generally kept rather sane.
His real difference from the school that claimed him for a father
half a century after his death, is well suggested in the awkward
word that Zola is fond of throwing at him, ” ideologist.” The
idea, the abstract truth and the intellectual form of it, its clearness,
its stateableness, its cogency and consistency, is the final interest
with him. The outer world is only the material for the ex-
pression of ideas, only the illustrations of them, and the ideas are
therefore not pictorial or dramatic, but logical. The arts are
ultimately the expression of thought and feeling, and colour and
plastic form are means only. You never find him complaining,
as his friend Mérimée did, that the meaning of the plastic arts
cannot be given in words because for a slight difference in shade
or in curve there is no expression in language. All that Beyle
got out of art he could put into words. He made no attempt to
compete with the painter like the leading realists of the past half-
century. Other arts interested him only as far as they formed,
without straining, illustrations for expression in language of the
feelings they appeal to. It was with him in music as it was in
painting, and often his musical criticism is as charming to the
unattached dilettante as it is annoying to the technical critic who
judges it in its own forms. Beyle names the sensation with
precision always. His vocabulary has fine shades without weakening
fluency. In choosing single words to name single sensations is
his greatest power, and it is a power which naturally belongs to a
man whose eye is inward, a power which the word-painters of the
environment lack. Everything is expression for Beyle, and
within the limits of the verbally-expressible he steadfastly remains.
His truth is truth to the forms of thought as they exist in the
reason—the clear eighteenth-century reason—disembodied truth.
” It is necessary to have bones and blood in the human machine
to make it walk. But we give slight attention to these necessary
conditions of life, to fly to its great end, its final result—to think
and to feel.
” That is the history of drawing, of colour, of light and shade,
of all the various parts of painting, compared to expression.
” Expression is the whole of art.”
This reminds one again of Mérimée’s statement, that Beyle
could see in the Moses nothing but the expression of ferocity;
and an equally conclusive assertion (for it is in him no confession)
is made by Beyle in reference to music, which he says is excellent
if it gives him elevated thoughts on the subjects that are occupying
him, and if it makes him think of the music itself it is mediocre.
Thus Beyle is as far from being an artist as possible. He cares
for the forms of the outer world, he spends his life in looking at
beauty and listening to it, but only because he knows that that is
the way to call up in himself the ideas, the sensations, the
emotions that he loves almost with voluptuousness. The basis of
genius, he says, in speaking of Michelangelo, is logic, and if this
is true—as in the sense in which he used it, it probably is—Beyle’s
genius was mostly basis.
Mérimée says that though Beyle was constantly appealing to
logic, he reached his conclusions not by his reason but by his
imagination. This is certainly making a false distinction. Beyle
was not a logician in the sense that he got at conclusions indirectly
by syllogisms. He did not forget his premisses in the interest of
the inductive process. What he calls logic is an attitude or quality
of the mind, and means really abstract coherence. Of what he
himself calls ideology, with as much contempt as Zola could put
into the word, he says that it is a science not only tiresome but
impertinent. He means any constructive, deductive system of
thought. He studied Kant and other German metaphysicians,
and thought them shallow—superior men ingeniously building
houses of cards. His feet seldom if ever got off the solid ground
of observations into the region of formal, logical deduction.
” Facts ! facts ! ” he cried, and his love of facts at first hand,
keeps him from some of the defects of the abstract mind. Every
statement is independent of the preceding and the succeeding
ones, each is examined by itself, each illustrated by anecdote,
inexact enough, to be sure, but clear. There is no haze in his
thought. When Mérimée says that it is Beyle’s imagination and
not his logic that decides, he is right, in the sense that Beyle has
no middle terms, that his vision is direct, that the a priori process
is secondary and merely suggestive with him. ” What should we
logically expect to find the case here ? ” he will ask before a new
set of facts, but if his expectation and his observation differ, he
readjusts his principles. It is no paradox to call a mind both
abstract and empirical, introspective and scientific ; and Beyle’s
This quality of logic without constructiveness shows, of course,
in his style. There is lucidity of transition, of connection, of
relation, among the details, but the parts are not put together to
form an artistic whole. They fall on to the paper from his mind
direct, and the completed book has no other unity than has the
mind of the author. As he was a strong admirer of Bacon and
his methods, it is safe enough to say that he would have accepted
entirely this statement about composition as his own creed :
” Thirdly, whereas I could have digested these rules into a certain
method or order, which, I know, would have been more admired,
as that which would have made every particular rule, through its
coherence and relation unto other rules, seem more cunning and
more deep ; yet I have avoided so to do, because this delivering of
knowledge in distinct and disjoined aphorisms doth leave the wit
of man more free to turn and toss, and to make use of that which
is so delivered to more several purposes and applications.” He is
the typical suggestive critic, formless, uncreative, general and
specific, precise and abstract : chaotic to the artist, satisfactory to
the psychologist. It makes no difference where the story begins,
whether this sentence follows that, or where the chapter ends.
There are no rules of time and place. His style is a series of
epigrams, and the order of their presentation is almost accidental.
” To draw out a plot freezes me,” he says, and one could guess it
from his stories, which are in all essentials like his essays. To
this analytic, unplastic mind the plot, the characters, are but
illustrations of the general truths. The characters he draws have
separate individual life only so far as they are copies. There is
no invention, no construction, no creation. Moreover, there is no
style, or no other quality of style than lucidity. He not only
lacks other qualities, he despises them. The ” neatly turned “
style and the rhetorical alike have his contempt. Most rhetoricians
are ” emphatic, eloquent, and declamatory.” He almost had a
duel about Chateaubriand’s ” cime indéterminée des forêts.” Rous-
seau is particularly irritating to him. ” Only a great soul knows
how to write simply, and that is why Rousseau has put so much
rhetoric into the New Eloïse, which makes it unreadable after
thirty years.” In another place he says he detests, in the arrange-
ment of words, tragic combinations, which are intended to give
majesty to the style. He sees only absurdity in them. His style
fits his thought, and his failure to comprehend colour in style is
not surprising in a man whose thought has no setting, in a man
who remarks with scorn that it is easier to describe clothing than
it is to describe movements of the soul. He cares only for move-
ments of the soul. The sense of form might have given his work
a larger life, but it is part of his rare value for a few that he talks
in bald statements, single-word suggestions, disconnected flashes.
This intellectual impressionism, as it were, is more stimulating to
them than any work of art. These are not poetic souls, it is
needless to say, however much they may love poetry. Beyle is
the essence of prose and it is his strength. He loved poetry, but
he got from it only the prose, so much of the idea as is in-
dependent of the form, Mérimée tells us that Beyle murdered
verse in reading aloud, and in his treatise De l’Amour he informs us
that verse was invented to help the memory and to retain it in
dramatic art is a remnant of barbarity. The elevation, the
abandon, the passion of poetry—all but the psychology—were
foreign to this mind, whose unimaginative prose is its distinction.
Perhaps this limitation is kin to another : that as novelist Beyle
painted with success only himself. Much the solidest of his
characters is Julien Sorel, a copy trait for trait of the author,
reduced, so to speak, to his essential elements. Both Julien and
Beyle were men of restless ambition, clear, colourless minds, and
constant activity. Julien turned this activity to one thing, the
study of the art of dominating women, and Beyle to three, of
which this was the principal, and the other two were the compre-
hension of art principles and the expression of them. In his
earlier days he had followed the army of Napoleon, until he
became disgusted with the grossness of the life he saw. What
renown he won in the army was for making his toilet with com-
plete care on the eve of battle. From the Moscow army he wrote
to one of his friends that everything was lacking which he needed,
” friendship, love (or the semblance of it), and the arts. ” For sim-
plicity, friendship may be left out in summing up Beyle’s interests,
for while his friendships were genuine they did not interest him
much, except as an opportunity to work up his ideas. Of the two
interests that remain, the one expressed in Julien, the psychology
of love, illustrated by practice, is much the more essential. Julien
too had Napoleon for an ideal, and when he found he could not
imitate him in the letter he resigned himself to making in his
spirit the conquests that were open to him. The genius that
Napoleon put into political relations he would put into social
ones. All the principles of war should live again in his intrigues
This spirit is well enough known in its outlines. Perhaps the
most perfect sketch of it in its unmixed form is in Les Liaisons
Dangereuses, a book which Beyle knew and must have loved. He
must have admired and envied the Comte de Valmont and the
Marquise de Merteuil. There is here none of the grossness of the
Restoration comedy in England. It is the art of satisfying
vanity in a particular way, in its most delicate form. It is
an occupation and an art as imperative, one might almost say as
impersonal, were not the paradox so violent, as any other. What
makes Stendhal’s account of this art differ from that of Delaclos
and the other masters is the fact that, deeply as he is in it, he is
half outside of it : he is the psychologist every moment, seeing
his own attitude as coldly as he sees the facts on which he is
forming his campaign. Read the scene, for instance, where
Julien first takes the hand of the object of his designs, absolutely
as a matter of duty, a disagreeable move necessary to the success
of the game. The cold, forced spirit of so much of intrigue is
clearly seen by Beyle and accepted by him as a necessity. He
used to tell young men that if they were alone in a room five
minutes with a beautiful woman without declaring they loved her,
it proved them poltroons. Two sides of him, however, are always
present ; for this is the same man who repeats for ever in his book
the cry that there is no love in France. He means that this
science, better than no love at all, is inferior to the abandon of
the Italians. The love of 1770, for which he often longs, with
its gaiety, its tact, its discretion, ” with the thousand qualities of
savoir-vivre,” is after all only second. Amour-gout, to point out
the distinction in two famous phrases of his own, is for ever
inferior to amour-passion. Stendhal, admiring the latter, must have
been confined to the former, though not in its baldest form, for
to some of the skill and irony of Valmont he added the softness,
the sensibility, of a later generation, and he added also the will to
feel, so that his study of feeling and his practice of it grew more
successful together. Psychology and sensibility are mutual aids
in him, as they not infrequently are in ” observers of the
human heart,” to quote his description of his profession. ” What
consideration can take precedence, in a sombre heart, of the never-
flagging charm of being loved by a woman who is happy and
gay ? ” The voluptuary almost succeeds in looking as genuine as
the psychologist. ” This nervous fluid, so to speak, has each day
but a certain amount of sensitiveness to expend. If you put it
into the enjoyment of thirty beautiful pictures you shall not use
it to mourn the death of an adored mistress.” You cannot dis-
entangle them. Love, voluptuousness, art, psychology, sincerity,
effort, all are mixed up together, whatever the ostensible subject.
It is a truly French compound, perhaps made none the less
essentially French by the author’s constant berating of his country
for its consciousness and vanity : a man who would be uneasy if
he were not exercising his fascinating powers on some woman,
and a man whose tears were ready ; a man who could not live with-
out action, soaking in the dolce far niente ; a man all intelligence,
and by very force of intelligence a man of emotion. He would
be miserable if he gave himself up to either side. ” In the things
of sentiment perhaps the most delicate judges are found at Paris—
but there is always a little chill.” He goes to Italy, and as he
voluptuously feels the warm air and sees the warm blood and the
free movements, the simplicity of heedlessness and passion, his
mind goes back longingly to the other things. ” All is decadence
here, all in memory. Active life is in London and in Paris.
The days when I am all sympathy I prefer Rome : but staying
here tends to weaken the mind, to plunge it into stupor. There
is no effort, no energy, nothing moves fast. Upon my word, I
prefer the active life of the North and the bad taste of our
barracks.” But among these conflicting ideals it is possible
perhaps to pick the strongest, and I think it is painted in this
picture : ” A delicious salon, within ten steps of the sea, from
which we are separated by a grove of orange-trees. The sea
breaks gently, Ischia is in sight. The ices are excellent.” The
last touch seems to me deliciously characteristic. What is more
subtle to a man whose whole life is an experiment in taste, what
more suggestive, what more typical, than an ice ? There is a per-
vading delight in it, in the unsubstantiality, the provokingness, the
refinement of it. ” In the boxes, toward the middle of the
evening, the cavaliere servante of the lady usually orders some ices.
There is always some wager, and the ordinary bets are sherbets,
which are divine. There are three kinds, gelati, crepè and
pezzidiere. It is an excellent thing to become familiar with. I
have not yet determined the best kind, and I experiment every
evening.” Do not mistake this for playfulness. The man who
cannot take an ice seriously cannot take Stendhal sympathetically.
Such, in the rough, is the point of view of this critic of character
and of art. Of course the value of judgments from such a man in
such an attitude is dependent entirely on what one seeks from
criticism. Here is what Stendhal hopes to give : ” My end is to
make each observer question his own soul, disentangle his own
manner of feeling, and thus succeed in forming a judgment for
himself, a way of seeing formed in accord with his own character,
his tastes, his ruling passions, if indeed he have passions, for
unhappily they are necessary to judge the arts.” The word
” passion,” here as elsewhere, is not to be given too violent a
meaning. ” Emotion ” would do as well—sincere personal feeling.
That there is no end of art except to bring out this sincere
individual feeling is his ultimate belief. He is fond of the story
of the young girl who asked Voltaire to hear her recite, so as to
judge of her fitness for the stage. Astonished at her coldness,
Voltaire said : ” But, mademoiselle, if you yourself had a lover
who abandoned you, what would you do ? ” ” I would take
another,” she answered. That, Stendhal adds, is the correct point
of view for nineteen-twentieths of life, but not for art. ” I care
only for genius, for young painters with fire in the soul and open
intelligence.” For disinterested, cool taste, for objective justness
and precision, he has only contempt. Indeed, he accepts Goethe’s
definition of taste as the art of properly tying one’s cravats in
things of the mind. Everything that is not special to the speaker,
personal, he identifies with thinness, insincerity, pose. ” The best
thing one can bring before works of art, is a natural mind. One
must dare to feel what he does feel.” To be one’s self, the first
of rules, means to follow one’s primitive sentiments. ” Instead of
wishing to judge according to literary principles, and defend
correct doctrines, why do not our youths content themselves with
the fairest privilege of their age, to have sentiments ? ” There is
no division into impersonal judgment and private sentiment. The
only criticism that has value is private, personal, intimate.
Less special to Stendhal now, though rare at the time in which
he lived, is the appeal to life as the basis of art. ” To find the
Greeks, look in the forests of America.” Go to the swimming-
school or the ballet to realise the correctness and the energy of
Michelangelo. Familiarity is everything. ” The work of
genius is the sense of conversation,” and as ” the man who takes
the word of another is a cruel bore in a salon, ” so is he as a critic.
” What is the antique bas-relief to me ? Let us try to make good
modern painting. The Greeks loved the nude. We never see it,
and moreover it repels us.” This conclusion shows the weakness,
or the limitation, of this kind of criticism, which as Stendhal
applies it would keep us from all we have learned from the revived
study of the nude, because the first impression to one unused to
seeing it is not an artistic one. But the limitations of Stendhal and
his world are obvious enough. It is his eloquence and usefulness
within his limits that are worth examination.
” Beauty,” to Stendhal, ” is simply a promise of happiness,” and
the phrase sums up his attitude. Here is his ideal way of taking
music. He asked a question of a young woman about somebody
in the audience. The young woman usually says nothing during the
evening. To his question she answered, ” Music pleases when it
puts your soul in the evening in the same position that love put it
in during the day.”
Beyle adds : ” Such is the simplicity of language and of action.
I did not answer, and I left her. When one feels music in such a
way, what friend is not importunate ? ” When he leaves this field
for technical judgments he is laughable to any one who does not
care for the texture of his mind, whatever his expression ; for
music to him is really only a background for his sensibility.
” How can I talk of music without giving the history of my
sensations ? ” This is, doubtless, maudlin to the sturdy masculine
mind, this religion of sensibility, this fondling of one’s sentimental
susceptibilities, and it certainly has no grandeur and no morality.
” Sensibility,” Coleridge says, ” that is, a constitutional quickness
of sympathy with pain and pleasure, and a keen sense of the
gratifications that accompany social intercourse, mutual endear-
ments, and reciprocal preferences …. sensibility is not even a
sure pledge of a good heart, though among the most common
meanings of that many-meaning and too commonly misapplied
expression.” It leads, he goes on, to effeminate sensitiveness by
making us alive to trifling misfortunes. This is just, with all its
severity, and the lover of Stendhal has only to smile, and quote
Rousseau, with Beyle himself: ” I must admit that I am a great
booby ; for I get all my pleasure in being sad.”
Naturally enough, ennui plays a great part in such a nature,
thin, intelligent, sensitive, immoral, self-indulgent. It lies behind
his art of love and his love of art. ” Ennui, this great motive
power of intelligent people,” he says ; and again : ” I was much
surprised when, studying painting out of pure ennui, I found it a balm
for cruel sorrows.” He really loves it. ” Ennui ! the god whom I
implore, the powerful god who reigns in the hall of the Français,
the only power in the world that can cause the Laharpes to be
thrown into the fire.” Hence his love for Madame du Deffand,
the great expert in ennui, and for the whole century of ennui,
wit, and immorality. Certainly the lack of all fire and enthu-
siasm, the lack of faith, of hope, of charity, does go often with a
clear, sharp, negative freshness of judgment, which is often seen
in the colder, finer, smaller workmen in the psychology of social
relations. It is a great exposer of pretence. It enables Stendhal
to see that most honest Northerners say in their hearts before the
statues of Michelangelo, ” Is that all ? ” as they say before their
accomplished ideal, ” Good Lord ! to be happy, to be loved, is it
only this ? ”
But just as Stendhal keeps in the borderland between vice and
virtue, shrinking from grossness, and laughing at morality, so he
cannot really cross into the deepest unhappiness any more than he
could into passionate happiness. Tragedy repelled him. ” The
fine arts ought never to try to paint the inevitable ills of humanity.
They only increase them, which is a sad success …. Noble and
almost consoled grief is the only kind that art should seek to
produce.” To these half-tones his range is limited through the
whole of his being. Of his taste in architecture, of which he
was technically as ignorant as he was of music, Mérimée tells us
that he disliked Gothic, thinking it ugly and sad, and liked the
architecture of the Renaissance for its elegance and coquetry ;
that it was always graceful details, moreover, and not the general
plan that attracted him ; which is a limitation that naturally goes
with the other.
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. O
Of course the charm and the limitations that are everywhere
in Beyle’s art criticism are the same in his judgments of national
traits, which form a large part of his work. Antipathy to the
French is one of his fixed ideas, thorough Frenchman that he was ;
for his own vanity and distrust did not make him hate the less
genuinely those weaknesses. Vanity is bourgeois, he thinks, and
there is for him no more terrible word. It spoils the best things,
too—conversation among others ; for the French conversation is
work. ” The most tiresome defect in our present civilisation is
the desire to produce effect.” So with their bravery, their love,
all is calculated, there is no abandonment. This annoys him
particularly in the women, who are always the most important
element to him. He gives them their due, but coldly : ” France,
however, is always the country where there are always the most
passable women. They seduce by delicate pleasures made
possible by their mode of dress, and these pleasures can be appre-
ciated by the most passionless natures. Dry natures are afraid of
Italian beauty.” Of course this continual flinging at the French
is only partly vanity, self-glorification in being able, almost alone
of foreigners, to appreciate the Italians. It is partly contempt
for his leading power, for mere intelligence. In his youth he
spoke with half-regret of his being so reasonable that he would go
to bed to save his health even when his head was crowded with
ideas that he wanted to write. It was his desperate desire to be
as Italian as he could, rather than any serene belief that he had
thrown off much of his French nature, that made him leave
orders to have inscribed on his tombstone :
Arrigo Beyle Milanese
Visse, scrisse, amò.
It comes dangerously near to a pose, perhaps, and yet there is
genuineness enough in it to make it pathetic. He praises the
Italians because they do not judge their happiness. He never
ceased to judge his. Nowhere outside of Italy, he thinks, can
one hear with a certain accent, ” O Dio ! com’e bello ! ” But
the implication is quite unfair. I have heard a common French-
woman exclaim, under her breath, before an ugly peacock,
” Dieu ! comme c’est beau,” with an intensity that was not less
because it was restrained. But restraint was Beyle’s bugbear.
From his own economical, calculating nature he flew almost with
worship to its opposite. He is speaking of Julien, and therefore
of himself, when he says, in Le Rouge et le Noir : “Intellectual
love has doubtless more cleverness than true love, but it has only
moments of enthusiasm. It knows itself too well. It judges
itself unceasingly. Far from driving away thought, it exists
only by force of thought.” He calls Julien mediocre, and he
says of him : ” This dry soul felt all of passion that is possible
in a person raised in the midst of this excessive civilisation which
Paris admires.” Beyle saves Julien from contempt at the end
(and doubtless he consoled himself with something similar) by
causing him, while remaining a conscious hypocrite, to lose his
life unhesitatingly, absurdly, perversely, for the sake of love.
Once he has shown himself capable of the divine unreason, of
exaltation, he is respectable. Where the enthusiasm is he is
blinded ; he cannot see the crudity and stupidity of passion.
Before this mad enthusiasm the French fineness and proportion is
insignificant. He loses his memory of the charm he has told so
well. ” Elsewhere there is no conception of this art of giving
birth to the laugh of the mind, and of giving delicious joys by
As might be expected, Beyle is even more unfair to the
Germans than he is to his countrymen ; for the sentiment, of
which he is the epicure and the apologist has nothing in common
with the reverent and poetic sentiment in which the Germans are
so rich. This last Beyle hates as he hates Rousseau and Madame
de Staël. It is phrase, moonshine, and the fact that it is bound up
in a stable and orderly character but makes it the more irritating.
They are sentimental, innocent, and unintelligent, he says, and he
quotes with a sneer, as true of the race : ” A soul honest, sweet,
and peaceful, free of pride and remorse, full of benevolence and
humanity, above the nerves and the passions.” In short, quite
anti-Beylian, quite submissive, sweet, and moral. For England
he has much more respect and even a slight affection. He likes
their anti-classicism, and he likes especially the beauty of their
women, which he thinks second only to that of the Italians. The
rich complexions, the free, open countenances, the strong forms
rouse him sometimes almost to enthusiasm ; but of course it is all
secondary in the inevitable comparison. ” English beauty seems
paltry, without soul, without life, before the divine eyes which
heaven has given to Italy.” The somewhat in the submissive
faces of the Englishwomen that threatens future ennui, Stendhal
thinks has been ingrained there by the workings of the terrible
law of propriety which rules as a despot over the unfortunate
island. It is the vision of caprice in the face of the Italian
woman that makes him certain of never being bored.
It is not surprising that women should be the objects through
which Beyle sees everything. A man who sees in relativity,
arbitrariness, caprice, the final law of nature, and who feels a sym-
pathy with this law, not unnaturally finds in the absolute, personal,
perverse nature of women his most congenial companionship. He
finds in women something more elemental than reasonableness.
He finds the basal instincts. They best illustrate his psychology
of final, absolute choice. Of course there is the other side too,
the epicure’s point of view, from which their charm is the centre
of the paradise of leisure, music, and ices. His hyperbole in
praising art is ” equal to the first handshake of the woman one
loves.” In politics he sees largely the relations of sex ; and in
national character it is almost always of the women he is talking.
Their influence marks the advance of civilisation. ” Tenderness
has made progress among us because society has become more
perfect,” and tenderness here is this soft or, if you choose,
effeminate, sensibility. ” The admission of women to perfect
equality would be the surest sign of civilisation. It would double
the intellectual forces of the human race and its probabilities of
happiness….. To attain equality, the source of happiness for
both sexes, the duel would have to be open to women ; the pistol
demands only address. Any woman, by subjecting herself to
imprisonment for two years would be able, at the expiration of the
term, to get a divorce. Towards the year Two Thousand these ideas
will be no longer ridiculous.”
In this passage is the whole man, intelligent and fantastic, sincere
and suspicious, fresh, convincing, absurd. He is rapidly settling
back into obscurity, to which he is condemned as much by the
substance of his thought as by the formlessness of its expression.
Entirely a rebel, and only slightly a revolutionist, he is treated by
the world as he treated it. A lover of many interesting things
inextricably wound up together, his earnest talk about them will
perhaps for some time longer be an important influence on the lives
of a few whose minds shall be of the kind to which a sharp,
industrious, capricious, and rebellious individual is the best stimulant
to their own thought.
Day and Night
By E. Nesbit
ALL day the glorious Sun caressed
Wide meadows and white winding way,
And on the Earth’s soft heaving breast
Heart-warm his royal kisses lay.
She looked up in his face and smiled,
With mists of love her face seemed dim ;
The golden Emperor was beguiled,
To dream she would be true to him.
Yet was there, ‘neath his golden shower,
No end of love for him astir ;
She waited, dreaming, for the hour
When Night, her love, should come to her ;
When ‘neath Night’s mantle she should creep
And feel his arms about her cling,
When the soft tears true lovers weep
Should make amends for everything.
A Thief in the Night
By Marion Hepworth Dixon
SHE had watched the huge rectangular shadow of the water-
jug on the ceiling for over an hour and three-quarters, and
still the nightlight on the washstand burnt uneasily on to the
accompaniment of her husband’s heavy breathing. The room
had loomed black and foreboding on blowing out the candles an hour
or two ago, but now the four white walls, hung here and there
with faded family photographs, grew strangely luminous as her
eyes grew accustomed to the semi-darkness. Yet shifting from
left to right, and again from right to left on the tepid pillows, the
outlines of the unfamiliar room gained no sort of familiarity as the
hours wore on, but remained as blank and unmeaning as the house
of death itself.
The silence alone was terrible, speaking as it did of the austere
silence of the death-chamber below—a chamber where a white
figure, once her husband’s brother, lay stretched in awful
rigidity on the bed.
The October night was dank, the atmosphere numb and heavy.
As the roar of London died in the larger and enwrapping silences,
the crack of a piece of furniture or the tapping of a withered leaf
on the window-pane grew to be signs portentous and uncanny.
Yet, turning and twisting on the rumpled sheet, every moment
sleep seemed more impossible. In the stagnant air her head felt
hot, her limbs feverish. She longed to jump out of bed and throw
open the window, and made as if to do so, but hesitated, fearing
the sound might waken the sleeping man beside her. But the
thought of movement made her restless, and, slipping cautiously
out on to her feet, she took her watch from the little table beside
her and peered at it until she made out that the hands indicated
five-and-twenty minutes to three.
Nearing the light, she revealed herself a lean, spare woman, with
the leathery skin of the lean, and with hair now touched with grey,
which grew sparsely and with no attempt at flourish or ornament,
on the nape of an anxious neck. For the rest, a woman agitated
and agitating, a woman worn with the fret of a single idea.
Five-and-twenty minutes to three ! A clock downstairs somewhere
in the great silent house struck the half-hour, and Mrs. Rathbourne,
with one of those parentheses of the mind which occur in nervous
crises, found herself wondering if her watch had gained since she
set it right by the station clock at Sheffield. The journey South
since they had received that startling telegram summoning them
to town had seemed, indeed, a vague blur, varied only by the
remembrance of fields splashed with yellow advertisements of
divers infallible cures, of a quarrel between her husband and a
porter about a bag, and later by the din and roar of the crowded
streets and the flare of dingy lights which danced by in procession
as the hansom dashed through London from King’s Cross.
They had been too late. Too late ! After four and a half hours’
incessant prayer to Providence—a Providence of whom she had asked
and expected so few boons of late—that she should be permitted to
be in time. They were too late ! Had not the thud, thud, thud of
the train said the ugly words in that dreary journey past flying
factory-chimneys, scudding hedges, and vanishing jerry-built
suburbs ? Too late ! The blank face of the London house, the
scrupulously-drawn blinds, advertised the fact even before she
jumped from the cab, smudging her dress on the muddy wheel in
her anxiety to gain the door. They were too late, irretrievably too
late, she knew, a few minutes later, when the young wife, rising
from an armchair in the dimly-lighted dining-room, greeted
them in her usual smooth, suave, unemotional tones. She remem-
bered the commonplaces that followed like things heard in a
dream. Her husband’s dreary inquiries, the young widow’s
explanations of how Colonel Rathbourne had rallied, and had
actually died sitting in his chair in a dressing-gown, and how
thoughtful he had been in alluding, some quarter of an hour before
his death, to an alteration he had made in his will. The words
reached her, but conveyed little meaning to her dazed percep-
tions. The very sound of the two voices seemed to come as
from a distance, as the sound of other voices had once done, when
she lay ill as a little child. A bewildered sense of the unreality of
things substantial rocked in her brain. A great gap, a vague but
impassable gulf lay surely between her and these living, breathing
people, so concerned with the material trivialities of life. It was
this something dual in her consciousness which made her wonder,
half-an-hour later, if in very truth it were she, or some other woman,
who mechanically followed her sister-in-law upstairs to the dead
man’s bedside. If it were she who recoiled so suddenly and with
so agonised a cry at the sight of that shrouded form ? She felt
certain of nothing, except that she hated this wife of six months’
standing, with her assured voice, her handsome shoulders,
and her manoeuvred waist. For six whole months she had been
Mrs. Rathbourne shivered, the square wrists shook with such
violence that the watch she held nearly slipped from her fingers.
To avoid the possibility of noise she placed it on the washstand,
and, as she approached the light, her eye was caught by the faded
photograph which hung directly above on the wall.
It was of Colonel Rathbourne, the dead man below-stairs. Out-
wardly the portrait was a thing of little beauty. A mere drabbish
presentment of a young man, dressed in the fashion of the sixties,
with somewhat sloping shoulders, and whiskers of extravagant
shape. Not that Mrs. Rathbourne saw either the whiskers or
the shoulders. Long familiarity with such accessories made them
part of the inevitable, part of all fixed and determined concrete
things, part, indeed, of the felicitous ” had been ” of her youth.
Had she thought of them at all, she would have thought of them
as beautiful, as everything connected with the dead man had
always seemed, then, thirty years ago, in the rare intervals he
had been at home on leave, and now on the night of his sudden
To look at this portrait meant to ignore all intervening time, to
forget that dread thing, that shrouded and awful something
stretched on the bed in the room below. To look at it meant to
be transported to a garden in Hampshire, to a lawn giving on
Southampton Water, a lawn vivid and green in the shadow of
the frothing hawthorns, grey in the softer stretches dotted with
munching cattle which swept out to the far-off, tremulous line
intersected with distant masts. She had dreaded to look or to
think of that line. It meant the sea—that ugly void of wind and
wave that was to carry him away from her. How determinedly
she had put the thought aside, rejoicing in the moment, the soft
atmosphere, the persistent hum of bees, the enervating cooing of
Yet the eve of the day had come when the regiment was to
sail, and when, across the intimacies of the cottage dining-table,
they looked at each other and avoided each other’s eyes. Her
husband had been in London on business for three or four days (it
was some years before they finally settled in the North), and was
to return by the last train. He had returned, punctually, as he
did everything, and she recalled, as if it had been yesterday, the
sound of his monotonous breathing through that last night. She
had been unable to sleep, waiting for the morning, the morning
when the dead man, then a slim young lieutenant, was to creep
down to meet her in the little wood they reached by the orchard
gate. Yes, in looking back she remembered everything. Her
foolish fear of being too soon at the trysting-place, her dread of
being too late. She recalled how she had strained her ears to
listen for awakening sounds, how she had at last caught the click
of an opening door, followed by cautious footsteps in the hall.
To creep down was the work of a moment. Once below, and
outside the cottage walls, the scent of the new-mown hay was
in her nostrils, and in her limbs the intoxicating freshness of
morning. She could see his figure in front of her on the narrow
winding path, and heard her own welcoming cry, as she caught up
her gown in the dewy grass, and darted towards him in the strange,
And now he was dead. The white mockery of a man below-
stairs, that shrouded thing, so numbing in its statue-like immobility,
was all that remained. What had she left ? What tangible
remembrance of that lost possession, that she might finger and
gloat over in secret? To unhook the photograph with its tarnished
wire and dusty frame was her first impulse, but even when she
clasped it in her hands the protrait seemed, in a fashion, to evade
her. The modelling of the features had evaporated, the face was
almost blank. She craved for something more tangible, more
human, something more intimately his.
The nightlight, which she had raised to look at the photograph,
guttered and diminished to little more than a spark. Throwing
on a wrap, she pinched the wick with a hair-pin to kindle the
flame, and then, with a swift glance at the sleeping man, turned
with a stealthy movement to the door. What if her husband
should wake ? A crack, at the moment, from the great oak
cupboard at the other side of the room made her start with
trembling apprehension. It sounded loud enough to waken fifty
sleepers, but the noise died away in the corner from which it came,
and the steady breathing of the man continued as if nothing had
disturbed the strained and looming silence. Catching her breath
she again moved forward, though assailed by the dread of the
door-handle rattling, and the fear that there might be a loose
board on the stairs. Screening the light from the sleeping man’s
eyes, Mrs. Rathbourne made her way round the bed, and, pulling
the door noiselessly to behind her, steadied herself to listen.
In the gloom of the empty passages a sinister faintness seemed
to hover ; the mist had eked in at the long landing window, and
added a mystery all its own to the unfamiliar lines of the house.
There was silence everywhere—in the room she had left and in
the one her sister-in-law now occupied facing the stairs. Only
from the lower hall came the harsh, mechanical tick, tick, tick
(with a slight hesitation or hitch in every third tick) of the eight-
day clock which fronted the hall-door.
Down towards it she crept, shading the dim light to see in
front of her, while the great shadow of her own figure rose, as
she turned the corner of the staircase, and filled the obscure
corners of the lower passage walls.
Beneath it was the dead man’s room. She saw, with a catch at
the heart, that the latch had slipped, and knew by the long inch-
strip of ominous darkness, that the door stood ajar. With averted
eyes—for she dreaded with an unaccountable dread that shrouded
something on the bed—she leant her elbow on one of the upper
panels, and with the stealthy movement of a cat slipped inside. An
insatiable desire mastered her. The nervous hands twitched, her
eyes travelled hungrily from one object to another, round the
room. It was his room. The room in which he had slept, and
lived, and died …. in it there must be something which he
had used, that he had touched, and handled, that she could seize
and call her own ?
But the mortuary chamber wore that rigid, unfathomable look
peculiar to rooms where the dead lie. Everything had been
tidied, straightened ; the dressing-table was bare, the books,
papers, even the medicine-bottles had been cleared away. His
favourite armchair—the chair, she remembered with a shiver, in
which he had died—had been ranged stiffly, itself a dead thing,
against the wall. There was no trace of 1ife, or suggestion of
it, in an emptiness which ached. Mrs. Rathbourne gazed at
the mechanically arranged furniture in a baffled way, dimly
realising that the soul of the room had fled from it, as it had from
the body of the man she loved. Nothing remained but the shell.
The kindly, loyal, and withal quaintly sarcastic man, who had
struggled with disease within those four walls, had been posed,
too, in the foolishly conventional attitude of the dead, the white
sheet transforming the body into the mere shapeless outline of a
man. He was hidden, covered up, put away, as he would soon be
beneath the earth, to be forgotten.
Mrs. Rathbourne drew near the bed, holding the feeble light
aloft with a trembling hand. With dilated eyes she stooped over the
shrouded thing, and then, when about to raise the coverlid, fell
back, as earlier in the evening, with a renewed sense of horror.
Her pulse leapt, and then seemed to cease altogether. The strange-
ness of death paralysed the very muscles of her arm. She
wanted …. she wanted the living, not the dead. It was the
living man who, though so rarely seen, had rilled the dreary
emptiness of her life. She wanted the man, not the clay.
Dazed, unstrung, and with the odd sensation of a hand clutching
at her heart, she dropped into one of the cretonne-covered chairs
beside the bed, and, as she did so, became conscious that her arm
touched something warm.
It was a well-worn dressing-gown which had been thrown over
the chair-back, the sleeve still bulging and round with the form of
the man who had worn it that very day. In one of the wide-open
pockets there was a crumpled handkerchief, while about it there
hovered the vague odour of cigars. The button at the breast,
she noticed, was loose and hung by a thread as if he had been in
the habit of playing with it, even the bit of frayed braid on the
cuff spoke in some unaccountable way of palpitating, everyday,
A gush of tears—the first she had shed—rose to the wretched
woman’s eyes. She pressed her pinched lips to the warm, woolly
sleeve, and then, with a convulsive movement, seized the dressing-
gown and pressed it passionately against her flat chest. With the
bundle in her arms, hugged close in guilty exultation, Mrs. Rath-
bourne stole to the door, and so noiselessly out and up the stair.
As before, the dank night swooned in the dour passages.
With a hurrying beat, a beat which seemed to speak of the
inexorable passage of time, the hall clock ticked, while behind, in
the silent room, the motionless figure with the upturned feet
loomed grim and aloof in the faint gleam of the vanishing light.
An Autumn Elegy
By C. W. Dalmon
Now it is fitting, and becomes us all
To think how fast our time of being fades.
The Year puts down his mead-cup, with a sigh,
And kneels, deep in the red and yellow glades,
And tells his beads like one about to die ;
For, when the last leaves fall,
He must away unto a bare, cold cell
In white St. Winter’s monastery ; there
To do hard penance for the joys that were,
Until the New Year tolls his passing-bell.
And ’tis in vain to whisper, ” Be of cheer,
There is a resurrection after death ;
When Autumn tears will turn to Spring-time rain,
As through the earth the Spirit quickeneth
Toward the old, glad Summer-life again ! “
He will not smile to hear,
But only look more sorrowful, and say,
” How can you mock me if you love me ? No ;
The day draws very nigh when I must go ;
The new will be the new ; I pass away.”
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. P
Yet, kneeling with him, still more sad than he,
I saw him once turn round and smile as sweet
As in the happy rose and lily days,
When, from between the stubble of the wheat,
A skylark soared up through the clouds to praise
The sun’s eternity.
Hope seemed to flash a moment in his eyes ;
And, knowing him so well, I know he thought—
” How fair the legend through the ages brought,
That still to live is Death’s most sweet surprise ! “
The End of an Episode
ALAN DREW, the novelist, had gone blind. And the ladies
who had come to inquire after him sat and discussed the
matter over their afternoon tea. Most of the people from the
country round who had come with the same object had gone away
baffled by his uncompromising attitude ; for Allan Drew had
never cultivated the particular set of social emotions which were
demanded by his present situation ; and he had no intention of
helping the people, who bored him, to get through a formula of
compassion that he did not want. So this afternoon he sat and
listened in silence while his visitors talked with conviction about a
trial of which they had not the least experience.
” It is difficult, sometimes, to understand the workings of
Providence, but—” said the Rector’s wife. In spite of the years
of practice that she must have had in the work of consolation, she
did not seem to be getting on very well now.
To the novelist she appeared to be wavering between an
inclination to treat him like a villager who had to be patronised
and a Parish Councillor who had to be propitiated.
” Almost impossible, yes,” said Allan Drew, and he shifted his
” I think Fate is sometimes kinder than she seems at first sight,”
said the Squire’s wife, who had read some modern novels, and
therefore did not talk of Providence.
” No doubt there are instances,” assented the blind man
patiently, and he wondered vaguely why the third lady whom they
had indistinctly mentioned to him on their arrival had not spoken
at all. He had not lost his sight long, and it worried him to be
unable to attach any kind of personality to her.
” Loss of physical sight may sometimes mean a gain of spiritual
perception,” the Rector’s wife laboured onwards. She sometimes
copied out her husband’s sermons for him, and she had dropped
unawares into the phraseology.
” It is to be hoped there are compensations,” said her host, and
he turned towards the sofa where he imagined his unknown guest
to be sitting.
The third lady spoke at last.
” I suppose there’s some good in being blind, as you both
seem to think so, but I don’t know where it comes in, I’m
sure ; and I’m perfectly certain nothing can make up for it
for all that,” she said, not very clearly ; but the novelist hailed
her incoherence with relief, and recognised the human note
” Nothing can,” he said, and nodded in her direction.
The third lady went on :
” I wonder, have you tried Dr. Middleton ? ” His countenance
fell again. After all, she was only like everybody else.
” Oh no, I haven’t tried him, nor any one else you are likely to
mention,” he answered with a touch of impatience.
” Haven’t you, really ? Now I call that rather a pity; don’t you ? “
” Oh, very likely,” he said indifferently, and waited for them
to go. The Squire’s wife was the first to move, and she pressed
his hand warmly and made the unnecessary remark that her
husband would come and read the paper to him as usual in the
morning. The Squire had a blatant voice, and thought it
necessary to read with a great deal of expression, and always
mistook the novelist’s affliction for deafness.
” I shall be delighted,” said Allan in a spiritless voice.
But after all it was not the Squire who came to read the
Times to him on the following morning. It was the unknown
lady of the night before ; and she knocked at his door just as the
housekeeper was clearing away the breakfast.
” The Squire has a cold,” she explained, with the faintest
suggestion of laughter in her voice, ” and I said I would come
instead. It is so unpleasant to read to any one if you’ve got a
cold, isn’t it ? It makes so many interruptions.”
” It is very unpleasant to be read to by the Squire when the
Squire has got a cold,” said Allan, boldly. Somehow the reading
did not promise to be quite as dull as usual.
” Where shall I begin ? ” she said, disregarding his remark
altogether ; ” I read atrociously, you know, but I hope you won’t
” How do you expect me to believe it ? ” he said, and suggested
that she should begin with the Foreign News.
She had not under-estimated her powers. She had all the
tricks of which a bad reader is capable. She made two or three
attempts at every word that baffled her, and said, ” Oh, bother ! “
at the end of each. She forgot to read out any of the explanatory
headings, and she rushed through the politics on the Continent as
though they all related to one nation whose name she had not
mentioned. She frequently read a few lines to herself and then
continued aloud further on, while her listener had to supply the
context for himself.
” That’s the end of the Foreign News,” she said presently, to
Allan’s intense relief. ” I think politics are very difficult to
understand ; don’t you ? ”
” I find them most bewildering,” he confessed, and he had to
wait patiently a little longer while she read the rest of the news
to herself and made many comments on it out aloud ; and he was
quite willing to believe her when she told him presently that
there was absolutely nothing in the paper.
” Never mind about the paper, I’ve had quite enough,” he said ;
” won’t you talk instead ? ”
” What a good idea,” she said ; ” I’ll tell you all the news, shall I ?
There’s going to be a temperance meeting in the schoolroom to-
morrow, and I’m going for a walk on Blackcliff Hill this afternoon.”
” I always walk on Blackcliff Hill myself in the afternoon,”
murmured Allan in parenthesis.
” The Squire has got a cold—oh, I told you that,” she went on.
” And let me see, is there anything else ? I know there was a
tremendous fuss about something before I got up this morning ;
somebody took a horse somewhere and broke it somehow or
another, its knees or the harness or something, and I came down
late to breakfast. That really is all. Did you ever know such a
place as this ? ”
” Oh, but that isn’t nearly all,” he protested with a smile.
” Why, what else ? “
” Well—yourself,” he said, and put his leg over the arm of his
chair and turned his face in her direction.
” Oh, but that’s so dull,” she said hastily ; ” and besides, there
isn’t anything to tell—there isn’t really.”
” Yet you have lived,” he said slowly, ” lived, and perhaps
suffered a little as well.”
” Well, I suppose I have had my share,” she said with the
” And in all probability loved.”
” Loved ! Oh, well, of course, every one has—and besides “——
she interrupted again.
” Very possibly hated,” he went on deliberately.
” We-ell, perhaps, I don’t—well.”
” Then let’s hear all about it,” he said encouragingly.
It seemed really unkind to refuse any one in so sad a situation.
” But,” she said wavering, ” there’s such a lot: where shall I
begin ? ”
” I acknowledge that is a difficulty,” he said, weighing the
matter carefully, ” but perhaps if you were to choose one episode.”
” One episode, yes,” she said, pondering.
” Taken from an interesting period of your life, before you
were so old as to——”
” I really do think——” she burst out angrily.
Allan hastened to explain that his estimate of her age, being
based entirely upon what he knew of her wit and understanding,
and not upon her personal appearance, was most probably ex-
” But what kind of episode ? ” she pursued reluctantly.
” Oh, well, that I will leave to you,” he said politely; and he
found his way to the window, still with his face towards her.
” Before I was married or after ? ” she asked.
” Well, I should say decidedly after. The probability is that
you married very young, so that the episodes, if there really were
any, came later on. And I should say that, not very long after
either, you may have gone away together to the seaside, where
the weather was bad and the days were long, and you began to
feel rather bored. And then, let us suppose that your husband
was called up to town unexpectedly ; and some one else, who was
young too, and bored too, staying in the same seaside place——”
” Really, Mr. Drew ! ” cried the other, ” one might almost
suppose that you knew more about it than I do ! ”
” One almost might,” he agreed, ” shall I go on ? Let me see,
where was I ? Oh, the advent of the other young person, who
was also bored. He would probably be an artist of some kind, or
perhaps dabble in a profession.”
” A novelist ? ” she suggested.
He bowed his head smilingly.
” For the purposes of argument we will call him a novelist.
And this young novelist may have met you perhaps, and you may
have gone for long walks together.”
” All along the cliff,” she murmured.
” And talked Art together ? “
” All about the novel that wasn’t published then,” she added.
” And your husband became still more neglectful.”
” And the novelist still more persistent,” she put in.
” And the situation developed daily and hourly until your
” Came back by the midday train one Saturday,” she said,
resting her chin on her hand.
” And the aspiring novelist had to pack up the novel that was
not then published and—”
” And he had to go right away, and he never came back,” she
cried, suddenly starting up and walking over to the other window,
where she remained standing with her back to him.
” Yes ? ” said Allan with a smile, ” then it was nothing but an
ordinary episode after all.”
There was a little pause, which she occupied by throwing the
” Mr. Drew, why did you make up all that nonsense ? ” she
” It was nonsense then ? “
” Why did you make it up, and talk as if—as if it really
” Why ? ” he said carelessly. ” Oh, because I suppose it did
really happen to somebody—once. Didn’t it ? ”
The next pause lasted longer.
” I thought you didn’t know,” she muttered presently.
The blind-tassel was flying wildly through the air. He laughed
” I didn’t. At least, not until you began to read.”
” At all events, you have not altered much,” she retorted,
the blind-tassel came off in her hand.
” Well, I never,” said the Squire’s wife from the door-
” I have knocked three times. And you don’t seem to be
reading the paper either. You were talking just as though you
had known one another all your lives.”
” I believe we were,” assented the novelist.
” You see,” exclaimed his companion elaborately, ” we have
just discovered that we met on the East Coast once, ever so long
ago, soon after I was married. Isn’t it odd ? ”
” In fact, a coincidence,” said Allan, to help her out.
The Squire’s wife looked as though she did not believe in
” How very strange,” she said ; ” but why in the world didn’t
you say so last night, Everilde ? ”
After that, the Squire’s wife and Mrs. Witherington did all the
talking between them. But Allan managed to get in a word just
as they were leaving.
” And what time did you say you would be walking on Black-
cliff Hill ? ” he murmured.
” Ah,” she answered with a laugh. “But I am older now, and
Blackcliff Hill is not the East Coast.”
” And the novel is published,” he said ; and he added to himself
as they walked away : ” I wonder if her husband is still——
Anyhow, I’m not going to find out.”
But Everilde Witherington was careful to let him know at
their next meeting, which, by the way, did not take place on
Blackcliff Hill, that her husband had gone abroad, and that she
had come to stay with her great friend, the Squire’s wife, to
recover from the effects of influenza. After that the conversation
flagged a little, and the interview was not such a success as the
last one had been.
” You two don’t seem to have much to talk about,” said the
Squire’s wife, who was present ; ” what’s the use of being old
friends ? ”
” There isn’t any use,” said the novelist, ” all the old subjects
are used up, and we are not in touch with the new ones.”
” And besides,” added Mrs. Witherington, ” the fact of your
supposing us to be old friends prevents your joining in the conver-
sation, although you are there all the time, don’t you see.”
” Oh, yes I see, thank you,” said the Squire’s wife; ” two’s
company, three’s none.”
” Oh dear, no, I didn’t mean that, really,” said her friend; ” and
besides, that entirely depends on the other two. Some of the best
times I have ever had have been with two other people.”
” I should like to ask the two other people about that,” said
About a month later they really did meet one evening on
Blackcliff Hill, and this time without the Squire’s wife.
Blackcliff Hill was a smooth, round chalk rising, covered with
gorse and bramble and springy turf, a broad expanse of green
slopes and hollows without a peak or a suggestion of grandeur or
barrenness, a hill like a hundred other hills, with a soft fresh breeze
that lingered over it without ruffling its surface.
” How did you know it was me ? ” she said when he called out
” I always know,” he answered in a tone which sounded as
though he had not wasted his time during the past month.
” Oh,” she said as their hands met, ” I came up to see the sun-
set, you know.”
” So did I—at least,” he said, and smiled.
” The air is very pleasant up here ; you can see three counties
—I mean one can—I’m so sorry,” she stammered.
” It’s a favourite walk of mine,” he went on as they strolled
through the bracken ; ” I like the placid conventionality of the
” That’s just what I don’t like,” she burst out impatiently ; ” I
would much rather have boulders, and miles of heather, and no
haystacks, or cornfields, or chimneys.”
” The East Coast for instance ? ” he suggested, and she subsided
into a careful study of the three counties.
” Why do you look at me as though you could see my face ? “
she asked him presently.
” I like to think I can, for the sake of the old times,” he
” Oh, those old times ! ” she cried; ” how fond you are of
dragging them up. Why can’t you leave them alone ? ”
” Yes, I suppose it is rather invidious,” he said solemnly, ” now
that they are gone.”
” Yes, now that they are gone,” she echoed, also solemnly.
He laughed outright.
” What a comedy it all is ! Do you remember how we lived
for days, with that midday train on Saturday hanging over our
heads ? And now that there is no one else to prevent us from
loving each other—”
” What do you mean ? ” she said quickly. He laughed again
and felt for her hand, and took it between his.
” Mean ? Do you suppose I haven’t known it for a whole
month, you foolish—”
” Who told you,” she asked, and her thoughts flew to the
” Oh, never mind that. Now, please, I want to know why
you didn’t tell me you were a widow ? Were you afraid of
me ? ”
” What an idea ! “
” Then I suppose it was a miserable truce with respectability
to enable you to patronise the broken-down novelist without
” Allan ! How dare you ? ” she cried, and snatched her hand
away. He put his into his pockets, and strolled on.
” Well, you must own it is slightly unaccountable. I thought
it was one of your impetuous freaks at first. But you kept it up
too long for that. And then I put it down in my vanity to your
liking me a little still, and wishing to conceal it. But I was soon
dispossessed of that idea. And then finally—”
” How prosy you are,” she grumbled, ” you are not half so
amusing as you used to be.”
” No, we don’t seem to hit it quite so well as we did then, do
we ? You see, you were in love with me, and I—”
” You know I never said so once ! “
” And we had plenty to talk about. But our conversation is
mostly sticky now.”
” There isn’t the novel any more,” she said.
” Nor the husband,” he rejoined ruthlessly.
They sat down near the top of the hill, and wished for the
” It’s very odd,” said the novelist.
” Odd ? I call it dull.”
” Dull, then, if you like. I wonder who invented the ridicu-
lous idea of two people marrying and living happily ever after.
It must have been the first man who wrote for money.”
” All the same, I’m rather disappointed,” said Mrs. Withering-
ton, gazing steadily at the three counties.
” What about ? That you can’t fall in love with me now
that there is nothing against our marrying ? ”
” Oh no, not that,” she said.
” What then ? “
” Oh, well, only that I hoped, just a little you know, that you
might still like me enough to—to ask me, so that I could—oh,
bother ! ”
” So that you could have the intense pleasure of refusing me ?
Sorry I disappointed you.”
” We can go on being chums, though, can’t we ? ” she sug-
gested, pulling up handfuls of moss.
” Oh, don’t,” he groaned, ” do be a little more original than
that. You are not writing for money, are you ? ”
” Then,” she cried desperately, ” there is nothing left but
sunset ; and what’s the use of that when you can’t see it ? ”
” Can’t I ? ” he said in a curious tone, ” don’t I know that it
has just got down to the line of fir-trees along the canal, and is
streaking across the cornfield, and making the hills on this side
look warm ? ”
He was sheltering his eyes from the sun with his hand as he
spoke, and Everilde turned and stared at him suddenly.
” Allan,” she cried, catching at his hand and pulling it down,
” Allan, you can—you—”
” Yes,” he said with a laugh, squeezing her fingers indiffer-
ently because they happened to be in his, ” yes. I did try Dr.
Middleton after all.”
” I never thought you could be blind for long,” she muttered,
” if it had been any one else, now—but why did you keep it to
yourself ? ”
He laughed heartily as he stretched himself out lazily on the
grass and tilted his hat forward.
” Do you really want to know ? Because I wanted to have
my secret too—that’s all. You see, I thought that if I were blind
and helpless and all that sort of thing, you might get to care a
little, don’t you see, and—”
” Then we were both disappointed,” she said with a note of
triumph in her voice. ” I’m rather glad of that.”
” Dr. Middleton ? ” she said presently to the three counties.
” Then, if it hadn’t been for me—”
But no one finished her sentence, for Allan Drew had suddenly
bethought him of a cigarette.
I. The Mysterious Rose Garden
II. The Repentance of Mrs. * * * *
III. Portrait of Miss Winifred Emery
Say, shall these things be forgotten
In the Row that men call Rotten,
Beauty Clare ?—Hamilton Aïdé.
I SUPPOSE that there is no one, however optimistic, that has not
wished, from time to time, that he had been born into some
other age than this. Poor Professor Froude once admitted that
he would like to have been a prehistoric man. Don Quixote is
only one of many who have tried to revive the days of chivalry.
A desire to have lived in the eighteenth century is common to all
our second-rate litterateurs. But, for my own part, I have often
felt that it would have been nice to live in that bygone epoch
when society was first inducted into the mysteries of art and, not
losing yet its old and elegant tenue, first babbled of blue china and
white lilies, and of the painter Rossetti and of the poet Swinburne.
It would have been a fine thing to see the tableaux at Cromwell
House or the Pastoral Plays at Coombe Wood, to have strained
my eyes for a glimpse of the Jersey Lily, clapped holes in my
gloves for Connie Gilchrist, and danced all night long to the
strains of the Manola Valse. The period of 1880 must have been
It is now so remote from us that much therein is hard for
us to understand, much must remain mobled in the mists of
antiquity. The material upon which any historian, grappling with
any historical period, chiefly relies is, as he himself would no
doubt admit, whatever has already been written by other
historians. Strangely enough, no historian has yet written of
this most vital epoch. Nor are the contemporary memoirs, though
indeed many, very valuable. From such writers as Montague
Williams, Frith, or the Bancrofts, you gain little peculiar know-
ledge. That quaint old chronicler, H. W. Lucy, describes
amusingly enough the frown of Sir Richard (afterwards Lord)
Cross or the tea-rose in the Premier’s button-hole. But what can
he tell us of the negotiations that preceded Mr. Gladstone’s return
to public life, or of the secret councils of the Fourth Party, whereby
Sir Stafford was gradually eclipsed ? At such things as these
we can but guess. Good memoirs must always be the cumulation
of gossip, but gossip, alas, was killed by the Press. In the tavern
or the barber’s shop, all secrets passed into every ear, but from the
morning paper little is to be culled. Manifestations are made
manifest to us, but the inner aspect of things is sacred. I have
been seriously handicapped by having no real material, save such
newspapers of the time as Punch, or the London Charivari, The
Queen, The Lady’s Newspaper, and others. The idea of excava-
tion, which in the East has been productive of such rich material
for the historian, was indeed suggested to me, but owing to
obvious difficulties had to be abandoned. I trust then that the
reader may pardon any deficiencies in so brief an excursus by
reason of the great difficulties of research and the paucity of
The period of 1880 and of the four years immediately succeed-
ing it must always be memorable to us, for it marks a great
change in the constitution of society. It would seem that
during the five or six years that preceded it, the ” Upper Ten
Thousand,” as they were quaintly called by the journals of the
day, had taken a somewhat more frigid tone. The Prince
of Wales had inclined for a while to be restful after the revels of
his youth. The continued seclusion of Queen Victoria, who
during these years was engaged upon that superb work of intro-
spection and self-analysis, More Leaves from the Highlands, had
begun to tell upon the social system. Balls and entertainments,
both at Court and in the houses of the nobles, were notably
fewer. The vogue of the opera was passing. Even in the top
of the season, Rotten Row, so I read, was not intolerably crowded.
Society was becoming dull.
In 1880, however, came the Dissolution and the tragic fall of
Disraeli, and the sudden triumph of the Whigs. How great
was the change that came upon Westminster thenceforward must
be known to any one who has studied the annals of the incompar-
able Parliament of 1880 and the succeeding years. Gladstone,
with a monstrous majority behind him and revelling in the old
splendour of speech that neither the burden of age nor six years’
sulking had made less ; Parnell, pale, deadly, mysterious, with his
crew of wordy peasants that were to set at naught all that had been
held sacred by the Saxon—the activity of these two men alone
would have sufficed to raise this Parliament above all others.
What of young Randolph Churchill, who, despite his halting
speech, foppish mien and rather coarse fibre of mind, was yet
the most brilliant parliamentarian of the century ? What pranks
he and his little band played upon the House ! How they fright-
ened poor Sir Stafford and infuriated the Premier. What of the
eloquent atheist, Charles Bradlaugh, pleading at the Bar, striding
forward to the very mace, while the Tories yelled and mocked at
him, hustled down the stone steps with the broadcloth torn to
tatters from his back ? Imagine the existence of God being made
a party question ! I wonder if such scenes can ever be witnessed
again at St. Stephen’s as were witnessed then. Whilst these
curious elements were making themselves felt in politics, so too
in Society were the primordia of a great change. The aristocracy
could not live by good-breeding alone. The old delights seemed
vapid, waxen. Something new was wanted. And thus came it
that the spheres of fashion and of art met, thus began the great
social renascence of 1880.
Be it remembered that long before this time there had been
in the heart of Chelsea a kind of cult of Beauty. Certain
artists had settled there, deliberately refusing to work in the
ordinary official way, and ” wrought,” as they were wont to put it,
” for the pleasure and sake of all that is fair.” Swinburne,
Morris, Rossetti, Whistler, Burne-Jones, were of this little
community—all of them men of great industry and caring
for little but their craft. Quietly and unbeknown they produced
their poems or their pictures or their essays, read them or
showed them to one another and worked on. In fact, Beauty
had existed long before 1880. It was Mr. Oscar Wilde who
first trotted her round. This remarkable youth, a student at the
University of Oxford, began to show himself everywhere, and even
published a volume of poems in several editions as a kind of decoy
to the shy artificers of Chelsea. The lampoons that at this period
were written against him are still extant, and from them, and
from the references to him in the contemporary journals, it would
appear that it was to him that Art owed the great social vogue she
enjoyed at this time. Peacock feathers and sunflowers glittered
in every room, the curio shops were ransacked for the furniture of
Annish days, men and women, fired by the fervid words of the young
Oscar, threw their mahogany into the streets. A few smart women
even dressed themselves in suave draperies and unheard-of greens.
Into whatever ballroom you went, you would surely find, among
the women in tiaras and the fops and the distinguished foreigners,
half a score of comely ragamuffins in velveteen, murmuring
sonnets, posturing, waving their hands. ” Nincompoopiana ” the
craze was called at first, and later ” Æstheticism.”
It was in 1880 that Private Views became necessary functions
of fashion. I should like to have been at a Private View of the
Old Grosvenor Gallery. There was Robert Browning, the poet,
button-holing a hundred friends and doffing his hat with a courtly
sweep to more than one duchess. There, too, was Theo
Marzials, poet and eccentric, and Walter Sickert, the impres-
sionist, and Charles Colnaghi, the hero of a hundred tea-fights,
and young Brookfield, the comedian, and many another good
fellow. My Lord of Dudley, the virtuoso, came there leaning
for support upon the arm of his fair young wife. Disraeli, with
his lustreless eyes and face like some seamed Hebraic parchment,
came also and whispered behind his hand to the faithful Corry.
What interesting folk ! What a wonderful scene ! A chronicler
of the time thus writes of it :
” There were quaint, beautiful, extraordinary costumes walking
about—ultra-æsthetics, artistic-æsthetics, æsthetics that made up their
minds to be daring, and suddenly gave way in some important point—
put a frivolous bonnet on the top of a grave and glowing garment that
Albert Dürer might have designed for a mantle. There were fashion-
able costumes that Mrs. Mason or Madame Elise might have turned
out that morning. The motley crowd mingled, forming into groups,
sometimes dazzling you by the array of colours that you never thought
to see in full daylight….. Canary-coloured garments flitted cheerily
by garments of the saddest green. A hat in an agony of pokes and
angles was seen in company with a bonnet that was a gay garland of
flowers. A vast cape that might have enshrouded the form of a Mater
Dolorosa hung by the side of a jauntily-striped Langtry-hood.”
Of the purely aesthetic fads of Society were also the Pastoral
Plays at Coombe Wood, and a very charming fad they must
have been. There was one specially great occasion when Shake-
speare’s play, ” As you like it,” was given. The day was as hot as
a June day can be, and every one drove down in open carriages
and hansoms, and in the evening returned in the same way. It
was the very Derby Day of æstheticism. ” To every character
in the play was given a perfectly appropriate attire, and the brown
and green of their costumes harmonised exquisitely with the ferns
through which they wandered, the trees beneath which they lay,
and the lovely English landscape that surrounded the Pastoral
Players.” It must have been a proud day for the Lady Archibald
Campbell, who gave this fête, and for E. W. Godwin, who
directed its giving. Fairer to see than the mummers were the
guests who sat and watched from under the dark and griddled elms.
The women wore jerseys and tied-back skirts. Zulu hats shaded
their faces from the sun. Bangles shimmered upon their wrists.
And the men of fashion wore light frock-coats and light top-hats
with black bands, and the aesthetes were in velveteen, carrying
Nor does it seem that Society went entirely to the æsthetes
for instruction in life. There was actively proceeding, at this
time, an effort to raise the average of aristocratic loveliness, quite
independently of the æsthetes. The Professional Beauty was,
more strictly, a Philistine production. What exactly this term,
Professional Beauty, signifies, how any woman gained a right to
it, we do not and may never know. It is certain, however, that
there were at this time a number of women to whom it was
applied. They received special attention from the Prince of Wales,
and hostesses would move heaven and earth to have them at their
receptions. Their portraits were exhibited in every shop. Crowds
assembled before their door every morning to see them start for
Rotten Row. Mrs. Langtry, the incomparably beautiful, Mrs.
Wheeler, who always appeared in black, and Lady Lonsdale, after-
wards Lady de Grey, were all of them famous Professional
Beauties. We may doubt whether the movement, symbolised by
these ladies, was quite in accord with the dignity and elegance
that always should mark the best society. Any effort to make
Beauty compulsory robs Beauty of its chief charm. But, at the
same time, we do believe that this movement, so far as it came of
a real wish to raise a practical standard of feminine loveliness for
all classes, does not deserve the strictures that have been passed
upon it by posterity. One of its immediate consequences was the
incursion of American ladies into London. Then it was that
these pretty little creatures, ” clad in Worth’s most elegant con-
fections,” first drawled their way into the drawing-rooms of the
great. Appearing, as they did, with the especial favour of the
Prince of Wales, they had an immediate success. They were so
wholly new that their voices and their dresses were mimicked
partout. The English beauties were very angry, especially with
the Prince, whom alone they blamed for the vogue of their rivals.
History credits the Prince of Wales with many notable achieve-
ments. Not the least of these is that he discovered the inhabitants
It will be seen that in this renascence the keenest students of
the exquisite were women. Nor, however, were men wholly
idle. Since the days of King George the noble art of self-
adornment had been sadly neglected by them. Great fops, like
D’Orsay, had come upon the town, but never had they formed a
school. Dress, therefore, had become simpler, wardrobes
smaller, fashions apt to linger. In 1880 arose the sect that was
soon to win for itself the title of ” The Mashers.” What exactly
this title signified I suppose no two etymologists will ever agree.
But we can learn clearly enough from the fashion-plates and
caricatures of the day what the Mashers were in outward
semblance, from the lampoons what was their mode of life.
Unlike the Dandies of the Georgian era they made no pretence
to any qualities of the intellect, and, wholly contemptuous of the
aesthetes, recognised no art save the art of dress. Much might be
written about the Mashers. The Music Hall was unknown to
them, but nightly they gathered at the Gaiety Theatre. Nightly
the stalls were fulfilled with row after row of small, sleek heads,
surmounting collars of monstrous height. Nightly in the foyer
were lisped the praises of Kate Vaughan, her graceful dancing, or
of Nellie Farren, her matchless fooling. Never a night passed
but the dreary stage-door was surrounded by a crowd of fools
bearing bouquets and fools incumbent upon canes. A strange
cult ! I used to know a lady whose father was actually present at
the first night of “The Forty Thieves,” and fell enamoured of one
of the coryphées. By such links is one age joined to another.
There is always something rather absurd about the past. It is
easy to sneer at these Mashers, with their fantastic raiment and
vacuous lives. It is easy to laugh at all that ensued when first
the mummers and the stainers of canvas strayed into Mayfair.
To me the most wonderful moment of the pantomime has always
seemed to come when the winged and wired fairies begin to fade
away and, as they fade, clown and pantaloon tumble on joppling
and grimacing. The social condition of 1880 fascinates me in
the same manner. Its contrasts are irresistible.
Perhaps, in my study of the period, I may have fallen so deeply
beneath its spell that I have tended, now and again, to exaggerate
its real importance. I lay no claim to the true historical spirit. I
fancy it was a red-chalk drawing of a girl in a mob-cap, signed
” Frank Miles, 1880,” that first impelled me to research. To
give an accurate and exhaustive account of the period would need
a far less brilliant pen than mine. But I hope that, by dealing,
even so briefly as I have dealt, with its more strictly sentimental
aspects, I may have lightened the task of the scientific historian.
And I look to Professor Gardiner and to the Bishop of Oxford.
Proem to “The Wonderful
Mission of Earl Lavender”
THOUGH our eyes turn ever waveward
Where our sun is well-nigh set ;
Though our Century totters graveward
We may laugh a little yet.
Oh ! our age-end style perplexes
All our elders time has tamed ;
On our sleeves we wear our sexes,
Our diseases, unashamed.
Have we lost the mood romantic
That was once our right by birth ?
Lo ! the greenest girl is frantic
With the woe of all the earth.
But we know a British rumour,
And we think it whispers well :
” We would ventilate our humour
In the very jaws of Hell.”
Though our thoughts turn ever Doomwards,
Though our sun is well-nigh set,
Though our Century totters tombwards,
We may laugh a little yet.
The Yellow Book
Index to the Publishers’ Announcements
Ward & Downey . . . . . .3
Hurst & Blackett. . . . . . . 4
Chatto & Windus . . . . . . 5
W. Heinemann . . . . . . . 6
Chapman & Hall . . . . . . 7
Sampson Low & Co. . . . . 8
A. D. Innes & Co. . . . . . . 9
Virtue & Co. . . . . . . . 10
Dean & Son . . . . . . . 11
F. V. White & Co. . . . . . . 12
“The Studio” . . . . . . 13
Keynote Series . . . . . . . 14
The Yellow Book—Vol. IV. RThe Yellow Book Advertisements
BOOKS BY JOHN DAVIDSON.
A FULL AND TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE WONDERFUL MISSION OF
EARL LAVENDER, WHICH LASTED ONE NIGHT AND ONE DAY. With a
History of the Pursuit of Earl Lavender and Lord Brumm by Mrs. Scamler and Maud Emblem.
1 vol., crown 8vo, price 6s. [Now Ready.
PERFERVID: The Career of Ninian Jamieson. With Illustrations by HARRY
FURNISS. A few copies of the first edition still remain, crown 8vo, cloth gilt, price 6s. New
and Cheaper Edition, post 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d.
“Cleverly written. . . . The scenes between the Provost of Mintern and Cosmo Mortimer, especially
the opening scene on the railway, are extremely comical.”—The World.
“A More fascinating story for boys, or for those who are not too old to remember their boyhood, has
rarely been written.”—Glasgow Herald.
THE GREAT MEN AND A PRACTICAL NOVELIST. With Illustrations
by EDWIN J. ELLIS. Crown 8vo, price 3s 6d.
“Deserves admiration for its fresh and living humour, its racy freedom, its happy power to amuse and
enthral. . . . The stories have a clean-cut, dramatic vigour and a plenitude of unforced wit. . . . For pure
and simple delight few modern books have beaten Mr. Davidson’s.”—Anti-Jacobin.
IN A MUSIC HALL, and other Poems. Crown 8vo, price 5s.
“Poetically graceful and morally courageous.”—Glasgow Herald.
“Mr. Davidson is nothing if not bluntly original. . . . In these sketches he shows himself frankly as
a realist in poetry.”—Scottish Leader.
BAPTIST LAKE. Square crown 8vo, buckram, price 3s. 6d.
“Abounds in felicities of expression, in clean-cut, inclusive portraiture, and in descriptive passages of
singular beauty that linger on the mind.”—Daily News.
“One of the best things in the book is the conception of the ‘Middle Class Club.’ This is really a
regal effort. . . . The book is full of good things of another kind, of poets’ good things, which are the best
to be had.”—The Star.
“Mr. John Davidson can write nothing that is not clever. The imagination of the poet glows in
every page. . . . Full of enchantment and grace.”—The Speaker.
WARD & DOWNEY, LTD., 12 YORK BUILDINGS, ADELPHI, W.C.
TWO NEW VOLUMES OF POEMS.
BALLADS AND SONGS. By JOHN DAVIDSON. Fcap. 8vo, buck-
ram, 5s. net. [This Edition now ready.
“They are thoroughly considered ; seen as solid wholes ; seen not only in front, but round at the
back. . . . Both the ‘Ballad in Blank Verse ‘ and the ‘Ballad of a Nun ‘ contain very strong morals very
stoutly driven home. In each the poet has made up his mind : he has a theory of life, and presents that
theory to us under cover of a parable of tremendous force.”— A. T. Q. C., in the Speaker.
“An abundant vigour, a lusty vitality, is the mark of all his work. He does not versify for the sake
of versifying, but because his intensity of feeling seeks an outlet in the most vehement and concentrated
form of expression.”—Daily Chronicle.
“We must acknowledge that Mr. Davidson’s work in this volume displays great power. . . . There
is strength and to spare.”—Times.
“Mr. Davidson’s new book is the best thing he has done, and to say this is a good deal. . . . Here,
at all events, is a poet who is never tame or dull : who, at all events, never leaves us indifferent. His verse
speaks to the blood, and there are times when ‘the thing becomes a trumpet'”—Saturday Review.
ODES, AND OTHER POEMS. BY WILLIAM WATSON. FCAP. 8vo,
buckram, 4s. 6d. net. [Third Edition now ready.
“Classic sobriety of form, perspicuity of thought, smoothness and richness of cadence, ingenuity and
resonance of epithet, a pointed concision of style . . . these are the abiding characteristics of Mr. Watson’s
verse. . . . He is a writer, indeed, who can write like this.”—Daily Chronicle.
“He is one of the very few verse-writers of the present day who can be relied on to give us only
his best work, and in that work we are certain to find the rare qualities of simplicity, sanity, and proper-
“Good as Mr. Watson’s earlier volumes were, there is, we think, in this volume a very marked
advance in craftsmanship and freedom.”—Westminster Gazette.
“Mr. Watson sustains easily in this volume the reputation he has gained of far the greatest poet still
“His new volume contains five or six poems which are real additions to literature.”—Times.
LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD.
Hurst & Blackett’s Publications.
Hurst & Blackett’s Three-and-Sixpenny Series.
Crown 8vo, uniformly bound, bevelled boards, each 3s. 6d.
ROBERT CARROLL. By the Author of “Mistress Beatrice Cope,” etc.
MARY FENWICK’S DAUGHTER. By BEATRICE WHITBY.
THUNDERBOLT: An Australian Bushranging Story. By the Rev.
J. MIDDLETON MACDONALD, Bengal Chaplain.
THE AWAKENING OF MARY
FENWICK. By BEATRICE WHITBY.
TWO ENGLISH GIRLS. By MABEL
HIS LITTLE MOTHER. By the
Author of “John Halifax, Gentleman.”
MISTRESS BEATRICE COPE.
By M. LE CLERC.
A MARCH IN THE RANKS. By
NINETTE. By the Author of “Vera,”
“Blue Roses,” &c.
A CROOKED PATH. By Mrs.
ONE REASON WHY. By BEATRICE
MAHME NOUSIE. By G. MANVILLE
THE IDES OF MARCH. By G.
PART OF THE PROPERTY. By
CASPAR BROOKE’S DAUGHTER.
By ADELINE SERGEANT.
JANET. A Novel. By Mrs. OLIPHANT.
A RAINBOW AT NIGHT. By the
Author of “Mistress Beatrice Cope.”
IN THE SUNTIME OF HER
YOUTH. By BEATRICE WHITBY.
MISS BOUVERIE. By Mrs. MOLES-
FROM HARVEST TO HAYTIME.
By the Author of “Two English Girls.”
THE WINNING OF MAY. By the
Author of “Dr. Edith Romney.”
SIR ANTHONY. By ADELINE SER-
EDNA LYALL’S NOVELS.
Each in One Volume, crown 8vo, 6s.
TO RIGHT THE WRONG. DONOVAN. KNIGHT ERRANT. WON BY WAITING.
WE TWO. IN THE GOLDEN DAYS. A HARDY NORSEMAN.
A SELECTION OF HURST & BLACKETT’S
Standard Library of Cheap Editions of Popular Modern Works.
Each work complete in one Vol., 5s. (any of which can be had separately), elegantly printed
and bound, and Illustrated by Sir. J. Gilbert, Sir. J. E. Millais, Hunt, Leech, Poynter, Foster, Tenniel.
Sandys, E. Hughes, Sambourne, J. Laslett Pot, etc.
By the Author of “John Halifax.”
JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN.
A WOMAN’S THOUGHT ABOUT WOMEN.
A LIFE FOR A LIFE.
MISTRESS AND MAID.
THE WOMAN’S KINGDOM.
A NOBLE LIFE.
THE UNKIND WORD.
A BRAVE LADY.
STUDIES FROM LIFE.
YOUNG MRS. JARDINE.
By the Author of “Sam Slick.”
NATURE AND HUMAN NATURE.
WISE SAWS AND MODERN INSTANCES.
THE OLD JUDGE; or, Life in a Colony.
TRAITS OF AMERICAN HUMOUR.
THE AMERICANS AT HOME.
By Dr. George Macdonald.
By Mrs. Oliphant.
ADAM GRÆME. LAIRD OF NORLAW. A ROSE IN JUNE. PHɶBE, JUNIOR.
AGNES. LIFE OF IRVING. IT WAS A LOVER AND HIS LASS.
LONDON: HURST & BLACKETT, LTD., 13 GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET, W.
CHATTO & WINDUS’S NEW BOOKS.
NEW LIBRARY NOVELS.
A LONDON LEGEND. By JUSTIN HUNTLY McCARTHY. 3 vols., crown 8vo,
15s. nett. [Feb. 1.
MR JERVIS ; a Romance of the Indian Hills. By B. M. CROKER, Author of “Diana
Barrington,” &c. 3 vols., crown 8vo, 15s. nett.
THE GOOD SHIP “MOHOCK.” By W. CLARK RUSSELL, Author of “My Shipmate
Louise,” &c. 2vols., crown 8v0, 10s. nett.
THE CHARLATAN : A Story of To-Day. By ROBERT BUCHANAN and HENRY
MURRAY. 2 vols., crown 8vo, 10s. nett.
BEYOND THE DREAMS OF AVARICE. By WALTER BESANT, Author of “All
Sorts of Conditions of Men.” Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 6s. [Shortly.
PEN AND PENCIL SKETCHES BY HENRY STACY MARKS, R.A. With 4
Photogravure Plates and 126 Facsimiles. 2 vols., demy 8vo, cloth extra, 32s.
THE LIFE AND INVENTIONS OF THOMAS A. EDISON. By W. K. L. and
ANTONIA DICKSON. With 200 Illustrations by R. F. OUTCALT, W. F. RICALTON, &c. Demy
4to, cloth gilt, 18s.
MEMOIRS OF THE DUCHESSE DE GONTAUT (Gouvernante to the Children of
France during the Restoration), 1773-1836. Translated from the French by Mrs. J. W. DAVIS.
With Photogravure Frontispieces. 2 vols., demy 8vo, cloth extra, 21s.
NEW THREE-AND-SIXPENNY NOVELS. THE MINOR CHORD : a
Story of a Prima Donna. By J. MITCHELL CHAPPLE.
THE PHANTOM DEATH, &c. By W. CLARK RUSSELL. With a Frontispiece by
H. C. SEPPINGS WRIGHT.
PUDD’NHEAD WILSON. By MARK TWAIN. With Portrait, and 6 Illustrations.
MADAME SANS-GÉNE. By E. LEPELLETIER. A Romance founded on the Play
by Sardou and Moreau. Translated by J. A. J. DE VILLIERS. [ Shortly.
THE BELL-RINGER OF ANGEL’S, &c. By BRET HARTE. With 39 Illustratons
by A. S. BOYD, G. D. ARMOUR, DUDLEY HARDY, &c.
VERNON’S AUNT : being the Oriental Experiences of Miss Lavinia Moffat. By
SARA JEANNETTE DUNCAN ( Mrs. EVERARD COTES). With 47 Illustrations by HAL HURST.
RENSHAW FANNING’S QUEST : a Tale of the High Veldt. By BERTRAM
MITFORD, Author of “The Gun-Runner,” “The Luck of Gerard Ridgeley,” “The King’s
Assegai,” &c. With a Frontispiece by STANLEY L. WOOD.
LOURDES. By EMILE ZOLA, Author of “The Downfall,” “The Dream,” “Money,”
and “Dr. Pascal.” Translated by E. A. VIZETELLY.
ROMANCES OF THE OLD SERAGLIO. By H. N. CRELLIN, Author of “Tales of
the Caliph.” With 28 Illustrations by STANLEY L. WOOD.
HIS VANISHED STAR. By CHARLES EGBERT CRADDOCK, Author of “The
Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains.”
SAINT ANN’S. By W. E. NORRIS, Author of “The Rogue.”
THE ONE TOO MANY. By E. LYNN LINTON, Author of “Patricia Kemball.”
CHRISTINA CHARD. By Mrs. CAMPBELL PRAED. With a Frontispiece.
TWO OFFENDERS. By OUIDA, Author of “Under Two Flags.”
ORCHARD DAMEREL. By ALAN ST. AUBYN. [Shortly.
JACK DOYLE’S DAUGHTER. By R. E. FRANCILLON. [Shortly.
DOROTHY DOUBLE. By G. A. HENTY. [Shortly.
LONDON : CHATTO & WINDUS, 214 PICCADILLY, W.
Mr. Wm. Heinemann’s List.
WORKS OF ART.
MASTERPIECES OF GREEK SCULPTURE. A Series of Essays
in the History of Art. By ADOLF FURTWANGLER. Authorised Translation. Edited
by EUGENE SELLERS. Large 4to. With Nineteen Full-page Photogravure Plates
and Two Hundred Text Illustrations. Price £3 3s. net.
Also an EDITION DE LUXE (limited to Fifty Copies) printed on Japanese
Vellum, 2 vols. Price £10 10s. net.
REMBRANDT. Seventeen of his Masterpieces, from the Collection of
his Pictures in the Cassel Gallery. Reproduced in Photogravure by the Berlin Photo-
graphic Company. Printed on the finest Japanese paper. With an Essay by
FREDERICK WEDMORE. In Large Portfolio, 27 1/2 in. by 20 in. Numbered Sets
(only 25) £21 net, others £12 12s. net.
REMBRANDT : His Life, his Work, and his Times. By EMILE MICHEL.
Translated by FLORENCE SIMMONDS, Edited by FREDERICK WEDMORE. A New
Edition to be completed in Sixteen Parts, each containing Five Plates in Photogravure
and Colour. Parts I., II., III., and IV. are ready, price 2s. 6d. each net.
HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY.
THE STORY OF A THRONE : Catherine II. of Russia. From the
French of K. WALISZEWSKI. With a Portrait. 2 vols. demy 8vo, 28s.
ALEXANDER THE THIRD. By CHARLES LOWE, M.A., Author of
“Prince Bismarck : an Historical Biography.” With Portrait. Crown 8vo, 6s.
EDMOND AND JULES DE GONCOURT. With Letters and
Leaves from their Journals. Selected and Edited. With New and Original Portriats.
2 vols. demy 8vo, 32s.
MEMOIRS OF THE PRINCE DE JOINVILLE. (Vieux Souvenirs.)
Translated from the French by Lady MARY LOYD. With many Illustrations from
Drawings by the Author. Demy 8vo, 15s. net.
NAPOLEON AND THE FAIR SEX. (Napoléon et les Femmes.)
Translated from the French of FREDERIC MASSON. With 10 Portraits. Demy 8vo,
Uniformly bound. SHORT STORIES. Price 3s. 6d. each.
G. S. Street.
EPISODES. By the Author of “The
Autobiography of a Boy.”
WRECKAGE. Seven Studies. 2nd
MADEMOISELLE MISS, and other
THE AVERAGE WOMAN. With
a Biographical Sketch by HENRY JAMES.
BLESSED ARE THE POOR.
Translated by WINIFRED HEATON. With
an Introduction by T. P. O’CONNOR.
THE ATTACK ON THE MILL.
With an Essay on the Short Stories of M.
ZOLA, by EDMUND GOSSE.
* This volume is also issued with 26
Illustrations by E. COURBOIN, five of which
are in colours. Small 4to, cloth, 5s.
LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN, 21 BEDFORD STRET, W.C.
Chapman & Hall’s New Books.
Woman in India. By MARY FRANCES BILLINGTON. With an Introduc-
tion by the MARCHIONESS of DUFFERIN and AVA, C.I. Illustrated by H. Johnson and
others. Dedicated by permission to H.R.H. the Duchess of Connaught. Demy 8vo, 14s.
The Marches of Wales : Notes and Impressions on the Welsh
Borders, from the Severn Sea to the Sands o’ Dee. By CHARLES G. HARPER. With
114 Illustrations. Demy 8vo, 16s.
The History of Art in Primitive Greece (Mycenian). By
GEORGES PERROT and CHARLES CHIPIEZ. With 553 Illustrations. 2 vols. imperial
The Adventures of Oliver Twist. By CHARLES DICKENS. With
26 Water-Colour Drawings by George Cruikshank. An Édition de Luxe, printed on
superfine paper. Bound in half-morocco, imperial 8vo, 42s. net.
The Migration of British Birds : including their Post-Glacial
Emigration as Traced by the Application of a New Law of Dispersal. By CHARLES
DIXON. With Maps. Crown 8vo. [Ready in January.
The Progress of Science : Its Origin, Course, Promoters, and
Results. By V. MARMERY. Demy 8vo. [In January.
Essays, Speculative and Suggestive. By JOHN ADDINGTON
SYMONDS. New Edition. Demy 8vo, 9s.
NEW NOVELS at 3s. 6d.
A Black Squire. By Mrs. ALFRED HUNT.
The Mystery of the Patrician Club. By ALBERT D. VANDAM.
A New Edition. Crown 8vo.
The Star of Fortune : A Story of the Indian Mutiny. By J. E.
MUDDOCK. A NEw Edition. Crown 8vo.
Clove Pink : A Study from Memory. By ANNA C. STEELE, Author of
“Gardenhurst,” &c. Second Edition. Crown 8vo.
‘Midst the Wild Carpathians. By MAURUS JOKAI. Translated by
R. NISBET BAIN. A New Edition. Crown 8vo.
A Human Document. By W. H. MALLOCK. Sixth Thousand.
GEORGE MEREDITH’S WORKS.
A Uniform Edition. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. each.
Lord Ormont and his Aminta.
One of our Conquerors.
Diana of the Crossways.
The Ordeal of Richard Feverel.
The Adventures of Harry Richmond.
The Shavings of Shagpat ; and Farina.
The 6s. Edition is also to be had.
LONDON: CHAPMAN & HALL, LIMITED.
THE constantly widening connection of “Scribner’s Magazine” in both literary and artistic work will be drawn upon during the coming year in novel and stimulating directions to make each issue represent the highest type of a progressive and popular American Magazine.
The Amazing Marriage,
A NEW SERIAL NOVEL by GEORGE MEREDITH, will BEGIN in
the January Number of “SCRIBNER.”
The History of the Last Quarter-Century in the United States
Will be an important feature, extending over a number of months.
To undertake the preparation of this history the Magazine has been fortunate in securing
President E BENJAMIN ANDREWS, of Brown University, who unites the closest study
of American history with the broad grasp of a man of affairs. He possesses especially the fresh
point of view and picturesque narrative which mean everything in a work of this character.
The Story of a Play
Will be a short novel by WILLIAM D. HOWELLS, the experience of young playwright,
and one of Mr. Howell’s most delightful pictures of New York life in a new field.
Another undertaking of interest in quite a different field will be ROBERT GRANT’S
Papers on the Practical Problems of Life, under the title of
“The Art of Living.”
“The Income.” “The Commissariat.” “The Summer Problem.”
“The Dwelling.” “Education.” “Married and Single Life.”
“The Case of Man” AND “The Case of Woman.”
“American Party Politics”
Will be a series of three articles by NOAH BROOKS, dealing with the history of party
politic with the clearness, entertaining quality and personal reminiscences of a man who has been
for years a leading journalist and student of the subject.
No attempt will be made to give here a detailed announcement of the miscellaneous
articles which will
give permanence and lively interest to the numbers of the Magazine for 1895. By their varied suggestiveness
and individuality they will maintain its traditions of excellence and of close interest in the activities of
contemporary life. But among the papers which will appear in early numbers of the year may be especially
mentioned: Life at the Athletic Clubs, by DUNCAN EDWARDS, illustrated by C. D. Gibson ; Country
and Hunt Clubs, by EDWARDS S. MARTIN, illustrated ; A Tuscan Shrine, by Mrs. EDITH WHARTON,
with superb illustrations recording an important artistic discovery; Old-fashioned Gardens, by Mrs.
ALICE MORSE EARL, abundantly illustrated from the finest of our old gardens; The Portraits of J. M.
W. Turner, by COSMO MONKHOUSE; Coney Island, by JULIAN RALPH, illustrated by Henry McCarter;
a story of Labrador, by GILBERT PARKER, illustrated by Albery Lynch; Country Roads, written and
illustrated by FRANK FRENCH, the well-known engraver; Sawney’s Deer-lick, by CHARLES D. LANIER,
illustrated by A. B. Frost.
LONDON: SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY, LIMITED,
ST. DUNSTAN’S HOUSE, FETTER LANE, FLEET STREET, E.C.
Some Books published by
A. D. INNES & CO.
VERSE TRANSLATIONS FROM GREEK AND LATIN POETS.
By ARTHUR D. INNES, M.A. Large post 8vo, buckram, gilt top, 5s. net.
“A finely varied classical garland. . . . We would fain have a whole book of
Virgil from a trans-
lator who renders ‘Inter se coiisse viros et cernere ferro’ by ‘Crash in the stern arbitrament of steel.’ . . .
Will not Mr. Innes give us something more ambitious?”—National Observer, October 20, 1894.
“It is not every lover of the classics who can be his own translator of them ; it
is not every translator
who can be the publisher of his own translations. But Mr. Innes can, and he has admirably performed
both functions.”—Daily Chronicle.
SEERS AND SINGERS. A Study of Five English Poets (BROWNING,
TENNYSON, WORDSWORTH, MATTHEW ARNOLD, and Mrs. BROWNING). By ARTHUR
D. INNES, M.A. Cloth antique extra, gilt top, 5s.
“Never were great poets and their gifts to us dealt with in a more reverential
and yet discriminating
fashion. Comments and criticisms are alike delicate and suggestive. All followers of the great five
should possess this little book, whose dainty get up is still its least charm.”—Pall Mall Gazette.
SOCIETY IN CHINA. By ROBERT H. DOUGLAS. An Account of the
Everyday Life of the Chinese People: Social, Political, and Religious. Demy 8vo,
cloth, with 22 Illustrations. Second Edition. Price 16s.
“Not only does Mr. Douglas’s book supply a complete conspectus of the polity, institutions, manners, and sentiments of this petrified race, but it reviews clearly the history of foreign relations with China, and points a moral which British diplomatists would do well to lay to heart in future difficulties with China.” Times.
By STANLEY WEYMAN.
MY LADY ROTHA. A Romance of the Thirty Years’ War. With 8
Illustrations by JOHN WILLIAMSON. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s. 28th Thousand.
“Baron DE BOOK-WORMS says: “Mr. Stanley Weyman, Author of ‘A Gentleman of France’ and ‘Under the Red Robe,’ has not yet, excellent as were both these works, written anything so powerful, so artistic, so exciting, and so all-engrossing as ‘My Lady Rotha.'”—Punch.
By ANTHONY HOPE.
HALF A HERO. Fourth Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.
“The book is delightful to read, and an excellent piece of work.”—Standard.
MR. WITT’S WIDOW. Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d.
“In truth a brilliant little tale.”—Times.
SPORT ROYAL. Small crown 8vo, cloth, 2s.
“Among these eleven stories—frivolous, weird, humorous, or sparkling—there is no room for monotony or tedium.”—Athenæum.
By ROBERT BLATCHFORD.
A SON OF THE FORGE. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.
“A rattling good story.”—Literary World.
By F. CUNNINGHAM. BROOMIEBURN : Border Sketches. Crown 8vo, buckram, gilt top, 3s. 6d.
“Will prove delightful reading.”—Morning Post.
LONDON: A. D. INNES & CO., 31 & 32 BEDFORD STREET, STRAND.
A large and beautiful Copyright Etching after Sir FREDERIC
presented to all Purchasers of THE ART JOURNAL, 1895.
In order still further to increase the large circulation of THE ART JOURNAL,
the Proprietors have decided to PRESENT to all Annual Subscribers for
1895 a carefully printed and good impression on specially made Etching
Paper of a
VALUABLE ORIGINAL COPYRIGHT ETCHING,
now being etched by the very competent Artist, G. A. MANCHON, of the
beautiful and decorative Painting,
By Sir Frederic Leighton, Bart.,
PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY.
The Etching will be of large dimensions, having an engraved surface of 21 x 16
suitable for frames 30 1/2 x 22 1/2 in.
The scheme for the diffusion of a thoroughly good work of Art has the express
sanction of the President of the Royal Academy, who has kindly promised to examine
the progress of the etching, and to sign the Artist’s Proofs, on its completion to his
For further particulars see announcement in the January
Number of THE ART JOURNAL,
or Prospectus, to be obtained from the Publishers.
LONDON: J. S. VIRTUE & CO., LTD., 26 IVY LANE, PATERNOSTER ROW. E.C.
Dean & Son’s List.
Under the Immediate Patronage of H.R.H. the
Duchess of Fife, H.I.M. the Empress of
Germany, Right Hon. the Countess
BABY’S SOUVENIR. Most
handsomely bound, gilt edges, &c., 10s. 6d.
A most charming book to preserve the Record of
a Child’s Life from its Birth to its Majority, con-
taining Twenty-three Coloured and other Illustra-
tions, printed in Facsimile of the Original Aqua-
relles of F. M. BRUNDAGE. The following are a
few of the subjects, with spaces left for filling in
NAME OF BABY.
THE LOCK OF HAIR.
BABY’S FIRST WORD.
BABY’S FIRST TOOTH.
BABY’S FIRST STEPS.
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.
BABY’S FIRST PRAYER, &c.
BY GORDON STABLES, C.M., M.D., R.N.
Demy 8vo, handsomely bound, cloth gilt,
with Medallion Picture, 6s. 6d.
OUR FRIEND THE DOG.
Sixth Edition, Enlarged and thoroughly Re-
vised throughout. Richly Illustrated with
full-page Portraits of all the latest Champion
Dogs, and numerous smaller Illustrations.
A Complete and Practical Guide to all that is
known about every Breed of Dog in the World,
their Show Points, Properties, Uses and Peculiari-
ties, Successful Mangement in Health and Sick-
ness, Rules and full Particulars of all Dog
FOURTH EDITION. Crown 8vo, handsomely bound, cloth
gilt edges, 5s.
THE DOYLE FAIRY BOOK.
Consisting of Twenty-nine Fairy Tales.
Translated from various Languages by AN-
THONY R. MONTALBA. With Thirty-four
Illustrations by RICHARD DOYLE, a Memoir
of Doyle, and an Introduction.
Just ready, crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 2s. 6d.
BY FRANCIS W. MOORE,
Author of “Humorous Plays,” &c.
HUMOROUS PIECES. A Col-
lection of Original Recitations in Prose and
JACK AND JILL.
THE FLAT IRON.
ODDITIES OF EVERY DAY.
LITTLE JACK HORNER.
And Twenty-three other Pieces.
Cloth gilt, crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.
HUMOROUS PLAYS. By
FRANCIS W. MOORE.
This Collection of Short Plays, Duologues, and
Proverbs in Action is intended as an addition to
the scanty assortment of pieces suitable for private
Having been originally written for this purpose,
they involve only a very limited number of charac-
ters, and no exceptional amount of dramatic ex-
perience. Each is comprised within a single act,
and the requirements as to scenery costumes, and
stage appliances are of a simple kind. The scenes
are all indoors.
All are available for performance, whether in
public or private, without payment.
The Plays in this volume may also be had separ-
ately, in paper covers, crown 8vo, at 6d. each.
Handsomely bound, cloth gilt, large post 8vo,
SCENES THROUGH THE
BATTLE SMOKE : Being Reminiscences in
the Afghan and Egyptian Campaigns. By
the Rev. ARTHUR MALE, Army Chaplain at
Lucknow, and in the Afghan and Egyptian
Campaigns. with Portrait of the Author, and
Eight large Illustrations by SYDNEY PAGET,
War Artist to the Illustrated London News in
Just ready, demy 8vo, cloth, 162 pages, 2s. 6d.
CHESS HISTORY AND REM-
INISCENCES. By H. E. BIRD, Author of
“Chess Openings,” “Modern Chess,” &c.
This interesting book fo Reminiscences of half-a-
century contains a Portrait of the Author, Notes
on Ancient and Modern Chess, Anecdotes as to
the Eccentricities of Noted Players, a Sketch of
Blue cloth gilt, gilt edges, large crown 8vo, 5s.
DEAN’S FAIRY BOOK.
A Companion to the “Doyle Fairy Book.”
This volume, which makes a splendid presentation
book for a child, contains most of the favourite
fairy tales of childhood, drawn from Penault, old
chap books, and the “Arabian Nights.” Such
favourites as “Sleeping Beauty,” “Aladdin,”
“Valentine and Orson,” “Hop o’ My Thumb,”
and “Jack the Giant Killer,” are included in its
pages, and the book is enriched with numerous
excellent illustrations by able artists.
LONDON: DEAN & SON, LIMITED, 160A FLEET STREET, E.C.
Publishers of Dean’s Plays for young Actors.
F.V. WHITE & CO.’S RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
AT ALL LIBRARIES.
A BORN SOLDIER. By JOHN STRANGE WINTER, Author of “Bootles’ Baby,” “Army Society,”
“The Soul of the Bishop,” &c. One vol. Bevelled edges, gilt cloth, 6s. (And at all Booksellers’
KITTY’S ENGAGEMENT. By FLORENCE WARDEN, Author of “The House on the Marsh,”
“A Wild Wooing,” “A Scarborough Romance,” &c. One vol. Cloth 6s. [January.
A GIRL’S FOLLY. By ANNIE THOMAS (Mrs. PENDER CUDLIP), Author of “Allerton Towers,”
“Kate Valliant,” “Friends and Lovers,” &c. Three vols. 18s.
A BAD LOT. By Mrs. LOVETT CAMERON, Author of “In a Grass Country,” “Jack’s Secret,”
&c. Three vols. 18s.
A RACING RUBBER. By HAWLEY SMART, Author of “Breezie Langton,” “Beatrice and
Benedick,” “The Plunger,” &c. Two vols. 12s.
A PERFECT FOOL. By FLORENCE WARDEN, Author of “The House on the Marsh,” “A
Young Wife’s Trial,” “My Child and I,” &c. Two Vols. 12s.
A TRAGIC HONEYMOON. By ALAN ST. AUBYN, Author of “A Fellow of Trinity,” “The
Master of St. Benedict’s,” “The Old Maid’s Sweetheart,” &c. Two vols. 12s.
THE CATCH OF THE COUNTY. By Mrs. EDWARD KENNARD, Author of “The Girl in
the Brown Habit,” The Hunting Girl,” “Sporting Tales,” &c. Three vols. 18s.
PETER’S WIFE. By Mrs. HUNGERFORD, Author of “Nora Creina,” “Molly Brawn,” “April’s
Lady,” &c. Three vols. 18s.
THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD. By FLORENCE MARRYAT, Author of “There is no Death,” &c. One
vol. Cloth, 6s. (And at all Booksellers’ and Bookstalls.)
AT ALL BOOKSELLERS’ AND BOOKSTALLS.
Cloth, 3s, 6d, each.
A DESERT BRIDE; A Story of Adventure in India and Persia. By HUME
NISBET. (With Illustrations by the Author.)
The Second Edition (Revised) of HOUSEKEEPING: A Guide to Domestic Manage-
ment. By Mrs. HUMPHRY. (“Madge’ of Truth).
Cloth 2s. 6d. each.
A SEVENTH CHILD. A New Novel. (3rd Edition.) By JOHN STRANGE WINTER.
WHAT GOLD CANNOT BUY. A New Novel. By Mrs. ALEXANDER. [January.
A MAN OF TO-DAY. By HELEN MATHERS. [January.
THE ENDING OF MY DAY : The Story of a Stormy Life. By “Rita.”
MY CHILD AND I : A Woman’s Story. By FLORENCE WARDEN.
A TRAGIC BLUNDER. By Mrs. LOVETT CAMERON.
THE HUNTING GIRL. By Mrs. EDWARD KENNARD.
In Picture Boards, 2s. each.
AUNT JOHNNIE. (4th Edition.) By JOHN STRANGE WINTER. [January.
A BUSH GIRL’S ROMANCE. (2nd Edition.) By HUME NISBET. [January.
WHOM GOD HATH JOINED ; A Question of Marriage. (3rd Edition.) By
A DAUGHTER’S HEART. By Mrs. LOVETT CAMERON.
THE ROMANCE OF A CHALET. By Mrs. CAMPBELL PRAED.
A SISTER’S SIN. By Mrs. LOVETT CAMERON.
ONLY A HORSE-DEALER. (3rd Edition.) By Mrs. ROBERT JOCELYN.
In paper covers, 1s.; cloth, 1s. 6d. each.
THE STRANGER WOMAN. By JOHN STRANGE WINTER. (3rd Edition.)
THE INVESTIGATIONS OF JOHN PYM. By DAVID CHRISTIE MURRAY. [January.
Price One Shilling each.
“BELGRAVIA” ANNUAL (Illustrated), containing contributions by Florence Marryat ; the
author of “Miss Molly” ; Gertrude Warden ; Hume Nisbet ; Edith Stewart Drewery ; Ella
Mac Mahon and others.
“LONDON SOCIETY” CHRISTMAS NUMBER (Illustrated), containing contributions
by John Strange Winter ; B. M. Croker ; Curtis Yorke ; “Rita” ; W. W. Fenn ; R. M. Burnand ;
A. Perrin, and others.
F. V. WHITE & CO., 14 Bedford Street, Strand, W.C.
An Illustrated Magazine
of Fine and Applied Art
Offices: 5 Henrietta Street
Covent Garden London wc
Eight Shillings per annum, or Nine Shillings and Sixpence
“Practical, sensible, and very
“Highly aesthetic publicaton.”
“Indispensable to artists who
wish to keep abreast of the times.”
Pall Mall Budget.
“Really the best of the Art
“No other English magazine
covers the field which this one
adopted in its first number and
has cultivated ever since in issues
preserving a high standard of
artistic excellence. For anyone
who wishes to follow the doings
of the emancipated wing in
English art, especially English
decorative art, it is the best maga-
New York Tribune.
“Bien écrite, bien éditée, d’un
artistique aspect dans sa robe
vert olive, le ‘STUDIO’ est sans
contredit la plus neuve et la plus
originale revue d’art illustrée
qu’on puisse signaler . . . nulle
autre revue d’art ne lui est com-
parable, ni en Angleterre ni
surtout sur le continent.”
It is the Mission of “THE STUDIO” to treat upon Modern Art in all its phases
—Art in Painting, Art in Books, Art in Decoration, Art in the Home ; and to
illustrate not only the best pictures, but also the best decorative designs of
The principal writers on Art are contributors to its pages.
Many original illustrations reproduced in the best possible manner are to be
found in every number. Supplements of artistic value are frequently presented.
Its Prize Competitions are doing good work in introducing young artists to
manufacturers and patrons of Art.
Everyone interested in Art, professionally or otherwise, should read it.
It is the cheapest and best illustrated Journal devoted to Art of the day.
The Keynote Series.
Each Volume with specially designed Title-page by AUBREY BEARDSLEY.
Crown 8v0, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.
By GEORGE EGERTON.
Sixth Edition now ready.
“A rich, passionate temperament vibrates through every line. . . . We have met
nothing so lovely in its tenderness since Mr. Kipling’s ‘Without Benefit of Clergy.'”
“The author of these able word sketches is manifestly a close observer of
moods, and one, moreover, who carefully takes stock of the up-to-date thoughts that
shake mankind.”—Daily Telegraph.
“Not since ‘The Story of an African Farm’ was written has any woman
herself of so strong, so forcible a book.”—Queen.
“A work of genius. There is upon the whole thing a stamp of downright
ness as of things which must be written, and written exactly in that way.”—Speakers.
“‘Keynotes’ is a singularly clever book.”—Truth.
A CHILD OF THE AGE.
By FRANCIS ADAMS.
“The love incident is exquisite, and exquisitely told. ‘Rosy’ lives ; her
stir us. . . . One is grateful for the artistic revelation of the sweet wormwood of pain.”
There is a bloom of romance upon their story which recalls Lucy and Richard
Feverel. . . . It is rarely that a novelist is able to suffuse his story with the first rosy
purity of passion as Mr. Adams has done in this book.”—Realm.
“Only a man of big talent could have produced it.”—Literary World.
“It comes recognizably near to great excellence.”—Pall Mall Gazette.
“Possesses a depth and clearness of insight, a delicacy of touch, and a
beauty of style very remarkable in so young a writer.”—Scotsman.
LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD.
The Keynote Series.
Each Volume with specially designed Title-page by AUBREY BEARDSLEY.
Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net.
THE DANCING FAUN.
By FLORENCE FARR.
“We welcome the light and merry pen of Miss Farr as one of the deftest that has
been wielded in the style of to-day. She has written the cleverest and the most cynical
sensation story of the season.”—Liverpool Daily Post.
“No one can deny its freshness and wit. Indeed there are things in it here
there which John Oliver Hobbes herself might have signed without loss of reputation.”
“There is a lurid power in the very unreality of the story. One does not
understand how Lady Geraldine worked herself up to shooting her lover, but when she
has done it, the description of what passes through her mind is magnificent.”—Athenæum
“As a work of art the book has the merit of brevity and smart writing ; while the
dénouement is skilfully prepared, and comes as a surprise. If the book had been intended
as a satire on the ‘new woman’ sort of literature, it would have been most brilliant ; but
assuming it to be written in earnest, we can heartily praise the form of its construction
without agreeing with the sentiments expressed.”—St. James’s Gazette.
“Shows considerable power and aptitude.”—Saturday Review.
THE GREAT GOD PAN AND THE
By ARTHUR MACHEN.
“The supernatural element is utilized with extraordinary power and effectiveness
both these blood-chilling masterpieces.”—Daily Telegraph.
“Since Mr. Stevenson played with the crucibles of Science in ‘Dr. Jekyll and
Hyde,’ we have not encountered a more successful experiment of the sort.”
Pall Mall Gazette.
“Nothing more striking or more skilful than this book has been produced in the
of what one may call Borderland fiction since Mr. Stevenson’s indefatigable Brownies
gave the world ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.'”—Glasgow Herald.
“Capital reading, we should say, for ghosts and vampires in their leisure moments.”
“For sheer gruesome horror Mr. Machen’s story surpasses anything that has
published for a long time.”—Scotsman.
LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD.
The Keynote Series.
Each Volume with specially designed Title-[age by AUBREY BEARDSLEY.
Crown 8vo, cloth, 3s, 6d. net.
Translated from the Russian of F. DOSTOIEVSKY.
By LENA MILMAN.
WITH A PREFACE BY GEORGE MOORE.
“These things seem small, but in the hands of Dostoievsky they make a work
genius.”—Black and White.
“One of the most pathetic things in literature, heart-rending, just because
tragedy is so repressed.”—Bookman.
“As to novels, the very finest I have read of late or for long is ‘Poor Folk,’
Fedor Dostoievsky, translated by Miss Lena Milman.”—Truth.
“Dostoievsky’s novel has met with that rare advantage, a really good translator.”—
“This admirable translation of a great author.”—Liverpool Mercury.
“‘Poor Folk’ Englished does not read like a translation—indubitably a
By GEORGE EGERTON.
“The student who would keep his finger on the pulse of the time cannot afford
“It is another note in the great chorus of revolt . . . on the whole clearer,
eloquent, and braver than almost any I have yet heard.”—T.P. (“Book of the Week”),
Weekly Sun, December 30.
“These masterly word sketches.”—Daily Telegraph.
“It will be called immoral, it may even be preached against in actual pulpits . .
but here it is, and must be scanned, a lurid picture of the seamy side, painted in colours
mixed with tears and blood.”—Realm.
“On the whole we congratulate George Egerton.”—Pall Mall Gazette.
LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD.
The Yellow Book, vol. 4, January 1895. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2021. https://1890s.ca/YBV4_all